Don’t drag India into Madhesh issue in Nepal: Nitish

Kathmandu, March 3 (IANS) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Thursday said India should not be dragged into the issues connected with the Madhesis in the Himalayan country’s Terai region, calling it “an internal affair of Nepal”.

“The issue of Madhes is an internal affair of Nepal and the country’s leaders are capable enough to handle it,” he told journalists here after a meeting with Madhes-based leaders.

“Whatever problems Nepal is facing have to be resolved by the Nepalis. India should not be dragged into Nepal’s internal affairs,”he added

Nitish is visiting Kathmandu to attend the 13th general convention of the Nepali Congress from Thursday onwards.

“Agitating Madhes leaders told me that the rights of the Madhesis were curtailed and so they were compelled to launch an agitation. I told them it is an internal matter of Nepal and (they should) resolve it within Nepal,” Nitish Kumar said.

The chief minister said that India need not intervene in the political issue and will always support the development of and peace and prosperity in Nepal.

The Madhes-based parties are agitating for the last six months over the new constitution adopted by Nepal last year and are demanding amendments to it to take care of interests of people living in the southern plains adjoining India.

The Janata Dal-United leader said that India has no objection over the new constitution and wishes to see Nepal as a prosperous, peaceful and stable country.

“Leaders here are capable of addressing the problems of pahadis, Madhesis and janjatis,” he said, “We just want progress and harmony in Nepal”.

Former Uttarakhand chief minister Bhagat Singh Koshiyari said the Nepal-India ties are excellent and both nations hardly have any differences.

“If there were any differences among the political parties of Nepal, those can be mended,” he said while addressing the 13th general convention of Nepali Congress.

However, Koshiyari skipped Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s question on alleged Indian blockade of entry of goods and fuel into Nepal after the adoption of the new constitution.

Jogendra Sharma of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, criticised the Indian government on the blockade issue.

“We struggled in India against the blockade, both on the street and in parliament. We sought answers from the Indian authorities and demanded that an all-party delegation be sent to Nepal to know the facts,” Sharma said.

Elements trying to set up a Hindu state in India and spearheading bloodshed are also trying to restore the Hindu kingdom status of Nepal, Sharma said.

(Anil Giri can be contacted at girianil@gmail.com)

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