New Delhi, February 14
Narayan Kaji Shrestha, a senior CPN-Maoist Centre leader vocal in his criticism of India’s intervention in Nepal’s internal affairs, is presently in India, busy in meetings with that country’s political leaders, intellectuals and people from various other walks of life.
Shrestha, who embarked on his India visit on Friday, is on a mission to improve his party’s relations with India. Leaders accompanying him informed that he remains tough on his stance despite this reaching out.
Here are some of the things that you may want to know about the visit:
Stop micro-managing Nepal
Giving voice to Nepali aspirations, Shrestha, speaking at a meeting with Indian intellectuals and political leaders, asked the Indian establishment not to micro-manage events in Nepal. There’s a need for open dialogue on Nepal-India relations, he pointed, adding that Nepali peoples and Nepal’s political leaders should have the right to take decisions on Nepal’s internal affairs.
India’s former ambassador to Nepal KV Rajan, Congress (I) leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, other intellectuals and journalists were present at the meeting. Shrestha has already met Indian National Congress General Secretary DP Tripathi, Congress (I) leader Karan Singh and Ananda Sharma. On Tuesday, he plans to meet Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Ram Madhav.
Shrestha had played a key role in reaching a 12-point understanding between then seven political parties and the Maoist party that had launched a decade-long insurgency in Nepal. During the insurgency, many of the Maoist leaders were based in India. His role in Nepal’s peace process was also crucial. But he does not have that deep a relation with India’s political leaders. He is not much in touch with the Bharatiya Janata Party, who came to power by winning a landslide about two years ago.
Shrestha is here on the invitation of a Maoist sister organisation based in India. He is attending some of its programmes. As such, the main purpose of his visit is to expand his party’s political relations with India’s political parties.
Speaking his mind
Shrestha himself and the Embassy of Nepal in Delhi have not commented on administrative level meetings that he has had in India. It appears that the Maoist leader is in a mood to speak his mind with India’s political leadership. And he is unlikely to soften his stance regarding Nepal-India relations.