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Diplomacy

Adityanath's Comment Irks Nepal, PM Oli Question's UP CM's 'Decision-Making Capacity'

This is not the first time the Uttar Pradesh chief minister made news in Nepal.

New Delhi: In 2018, the fact that several political leaders had objected to his presence at a religious event in Janakpur had made headlines in Nepal. This time, it is his comments on the India-Nepal border that has brought Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath back in the news in India’s neighbouring country.

Last week, speaking about Nepal’s claim on the Kalapani region, Adityanath had said, “Before determining political boundary, Nepal should think of the long-term consequences and it should also remember what happened to Tibet.” 

Nepalese prime minister K.P. Sharma Oli, speaking at Parliament on June 10, took umbrage at the comment, and stated, “He (Adityanath) is not in a decision-making capacity in the Central government,” to be making such a statement. 

“Chief minister of Uttar Pradesh Adityanath ji has said certain things about Nepal. His comments are inappropriate and not legitimate. He is not in a decision-making capacity in the Central government of India. His comments are in the capacity of a chief minister and these should not have been made. If he is trying to threaten Nepal with these comments, this is condemnable. His remarks showed disrespect to Nepal. I want to tell Yogi ji that Nepal doesn’t accept these insults,” The Hindu quoted Oli as having said. 

Also read: The Kalapani Imbroglio: Has India Pushed Nepal Too Far?

Oli, in reply to questions from MPs on the possibility of Nepal according legal status to a new map of the country claiming the Kalapani-Lipulekh-Limpiyadhura stretch, stated, “Since 1961 and ‘62, India has stationed its military forces in Kalapani. But that land belongs to us. India is showing an artificial Kali river as the basis of its claim on the region. They have also built a temple of Goddess Kali in that area which belongs to us. But our claim is based on historical documents and facts.”

The prime minister also said, “If India shows more willingness for dialogue, a solution can be found”. 

In November 2018, when Adityanath visited Janakpur town to attend a religious event in place of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several Nepali political parties and leaders had objected to it. It generated a controversy when the government said that it had no information about Adityanath’s plans. 

Oli had invited Modi to take part in the Bibaha Panchami ceremony at Janakpur and together they were to inaugurate the Janakpur-Jaynagar expressway. However, Modi cancelled the trip reportedly due to his commitment to his party’s political rallies ahead of state assembly elections and instead deputed Adityanath to attend the religious event. 

According to a news report then in the Kathmandu Post, “Some Nepali leaders expressed their concern that his (Yogi’s) visit may give a religious undertone to Nepal, which is a secular state.  Some said in Nepal that he brazenly bats for the restoration of Hindu state of Nepal and he is in contact with former king Gyanendra Shah.” 

Nepali Congress vice-president Bimalendra Nidhi had told journalists, “If the federal government has invited Adityanath (as the guest of the government to the event), this is a matter of national shame.”  

Adityanath, during his visit, had said that he had attended the event only “as a cultural envoy”.