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Kathmandu(PTI): Nepal’s Maoist chief Prachanda is set to visit India next week at the invitation of the Indian government as the Himalayan nation moves closer to finalising a Constitution that could end years of political bickering.
Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, also known as ‘Prachanda’, will visit India from July 14 to 18 at the invitation from the government of India, party sources told PTI. However, the details of the visit and his programme in India are yet to be made public.
The 60-year-old Maoist supremo’s visit to Indian comes at a time when the country is about to finalise a new Constitution after years of political bickering and deadlock over contentious issues. Prachanda’s visit also assumes significance with his stance towards India softening in recent years. He had earlier frequently engaged in bitter attacks on India and accused New Delhi of interfering in Nepal’s affairs and “dictating” to its leadership.
Four major political parties — Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN-Maoist and Madhesi Peoples Forum Democratic — that command 90 per cent majority in the 601-member Constituent Assembly have reached a 16-point deal to settle contentious issues of Constitution-drafting.The first draft of the Constitution was presented at the Constituent Assembly last week and discussions over it are ongoing.
The draft Constitution will then be published in the Nepal Gazette which will be discussed by the people before its promulgation. However, some Madhesi parties and fringe parties are opposing the process, saying the proposed Constitution has failed to address their issues.
On Friday, top leaders of Madhesi parties met Indian Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae and discussed various issues, including Constitution-drafting. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was here last month for the international donors conference, had met the entire spectrum of Nepalese leadership, including Prachanda.
She had encouraged the leaders to finalise the long- pending drafting of the Constitution at the earliest to take the country on a new path of development.