Opposition rejects Oli call for talks

Nepali Congress furious over anti-national tag

Updated - September 18, 2016 01:18 pm IST

Published - May 10, 2016 02:03 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The government of Nepal has begun damage control efforts to calm political tensions at home and with India even as the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) sharpened its attack and termed peace offerings from Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli as “belated”.

“We have taken serious note of the fact Mr. Oli accused our ambassador to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyay, of carrying out anti-government activities. Mr. Upadhyay is a seasoned politician of Nepali Congress and should have been treated with due courtesies. Mr. Oli has acted out of vengeance and we will not help his belated plans for amendments to the Constitution,” Shekhar Koirala, leader of Nepali Congress told The Hindu from Kathmandu.

Mr. Koirala said his party would not remain in opposition forever and will replace Mr. Oli’s government and ruled out cooperation for Mr. Oli’s amendment plans which need the support of the NC, the largest party in the Nepali parliament with 207 seats in the 601-member House.

Dialogue stalled

On Sunday, Mr. Oli called the United Madhesi Democratic Front (Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha, SLMM) for talks after almost three months but the NC and several Madhesi parties have refused to participate, citing major political differences over the crisis that erupted when Mr. Oli’s government cancelled the trip to India by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and dismissed Mr. Upadhyay, an important NC leader.

“Alleging anti-national activities by Mr. Upadhyay shows the NC in a poor light and suggests that we plotted to dislodge the government from Indian soil. We are telling Mr. Oli’s government that we do not take internal Nepali issues out of Nepal,” Mr. Koirala said.

No replacement yet

The government in Kathmandu is yet to name the next ambassador to Delhi, giving Mr. Upadhyay some more days in Delhi. “The government of Nepal has become like the government of Uttarakhand — it can fall at any moment,” Mr. Upadhyay told The Hindu, arguing that the Nepali Congress could form the government with the support of the parties from the plains and some constituents of Mr. Oli’s coalition.

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