Kathmandu, July 6 (IANS) A senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Chief Minister of the Indian state of Uttarakhand Bhagat Singh Koshyari has admitted that he had a meeting with Nepal’s deposed king Gyanendra Shah in Kathmandu recently.
Koshyari, who is also member of the Nepal-India Eminent Persons Group, is a frequent traveller to Nepal since the BJP came to power in May 2014 and enjoys good relations with senior Nepali politicians.
During an interview with BBC Nepal Service, Koshyari said he held a meeting with Gyanendra Shah during his last visit to Nepal in the third week of June.
He was in Nepal then to take part in the first General Convention of the Terai Madesh Loktantrik Party.
Koshyari, who is in Nepal to participate in the first meeting of the EPG, said he has no plans to meet with Gyanendra this time.
After abolishment of the 240-year-old monarchy in 2008, Gyanendra, the last king of the Shah dynasty, moved to a bungalow on the north-western outskirts of Kathmandu in Nagarjuna Hill. He keeps coming to his old address in the heart of Kathmandu, Nirmal Niwas, which was his address when he was junior prince.
“I do not think it was a crime to meet the former king. He is like a citizen now and if he wants to meet me, what’s wrong,” Koshyari said.
Koshyari, who has a wide range of contacts among the political fraternity in Nepal, said: “Is there anything written in Nepal’s Constitution that someone who comes from India should not meet with the former king. If so, I will not meet him from next time.”
“I am meeting with all political leaders here. Sometimes, I visit them and some time they invite me,” he added.
He clarified that it was Gyanendra who invited him for the meeting. Koshyari said that since Gyanendra keeps visiting India frequently, “I told him to become the token of unity of both sides.”
BJP leaders have made statements to the effect that they would like to once again see Nepal as a Hindu state.
After the EPG’s two-day meeting ended on Tuesday, Koshyari was still in Kathmandu and meeting various political leaders here.
(Anil Giri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)