Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), called on BJP president J.P. Nadda at the party’s headquarters in New Delhi in the first such invitation and visit by any member of the Communist Party of Nepal to the BJP’s headquarters.
BJP’s foreign affairs cell chief, Vijay Chauthaiwale, who was present when the two leaders met, described the meeting as “cordial” and said, “party-to-party interactions were to be given paramount importance.” Mr. Dahal was reported as saying that while the two parties may be ideologically different, they needed to work together for poverty alleviation in the region. Minister for External Affairs S. Jaishankar was present at the meeting as was Mr. Dahal’s daughter, Ganga Dahal.
Sources said that in his opening remarks, Mr. Nadda said Nepal was at the centre of the Indian government’s “neighbourhood first” policy and mentioned the recent visit by Prime Minister of Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba to Delhi and the BJP headquarters, as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lumbini as having further strengthened India-Nepal relationship.
‘Ready to promote deeper linkages’
“We stand ready to promote deeper linkages between the BJP and your party at multiple levels. We would be happy to welcome a delegation of the young leaders of the Maoist Centre to India,” Mr. Nadda reportedly said.
Mr. Prachanda said ideological differences should not obscure common interests and thanked India’s support to Nepal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pointing out that hydropower and tourism were important pillars of the Nepalese economy, he asked for more cooperation there and appreciated that India was now buying power from Nepal. He expressed concern over the trade deficit with India, and said the matter should be addressed.
On all issues, he stressed that mutual trust and friendship should prevail.
Mr. Dahal’s party is a partner in the ruling coalition in Nepal at present and Mr. Nadda’s invitation to Mr. Dahal, belonging to a party inimical to the ideology of the BJP and Sangh Parivar, is being seen as an important warming up between the two parties and attempts to build bridges. It also points to the government’s efforts to use all channels to build ties between various parties in Nepal and India.
Mr. Dahal was also given a tour of the BJP headquarters, where he met with members of the party’s Kisan Morcha who had gathered to pass a resolution thanking Mr. Nadda for nominating “Kisan Putra” Jagdeep Dhankhar as the NDA’s nominee in the vice-presidential polls.