Nepal should move constitutional amendments to address Madheshi grievances: India

India is of opinion that Nepal should move constitutional amendments in the near future to address Madheshi grievances as Prachanda arrives here on Thursday on his maiden trip abroad after being anointed PM for the second time.

With the former Maoist commander making resolution of Madhesi grievances as a key deliverable in his stint as the PM there is hope in Delhi that the issue which had rocked the Himalayan State last year would be addressed within a timeframe. The issue is expected to figure prominently when Prachanda meets his Indian counterpart here on Friday. The Nepalese PM will be on a four-day visit to India.

According to persons familiar with the developments it is in Nepal’s interests that Kathmandu should initiate the Constitutional amendments in the country’s Parliament at the earliest. In fact Prachanda had earlier desired to introduce constitutional amendments before he landed in Delhi.

However, the Modi government is reasonably optimistic that the amendments will be registered shortly. It is understood that the Prachanda government will be able to muster two-thirds support to get the amendments through. “The longer the issue get prolonged it will be difficult for Prachanda to manage the political situation,” quipped an expert on Nepal affairs.

The Nepal’s PM visit is essentially aimed at repairing ties that went sour under his predecessor K P Sharma Oli. Prachanda, who in 2009, blamed India for creating conditions for his resignation today has evolved as a politician.

“My India visit is a diplomatic issue aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries,” Prachanda said on Wednesday ahead of his visit. Gap between the government and the agitating United Madhesi Front on the issue of constitution amendment has been narrowed down, he said, adding that both the sides should create an environment of trust for resolving the matter.

“The government is serious about making the constitution acceptable to all sides,” Prachanda further noted.

The Madhesi parties had led a six month-long agitation last year, mainly to protest against the seven-province federal model enshrined in the Constitution. At least 50 people were killed during the protests in south Nepal last year over the issue.

The Nepalese PM would urge the Indian government to help complete the construction of Postal Highway at the earliest. The work of Postal Highway, also known as Hulaki Rajmarg, has been affected because of the delay in getting consent for selection of contractors from the Indian government nine sections. The project has been divided into 17 sections. India had signed an agreement to give Rs 8 billion as grant to build 607-km stretch of the 1792-km road project.

The Prime Minister said he would also hold discussion with his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi regarding implementation of the Pancheshwar Multipurpose Development Project and assistance for post-quake reconstruction.

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