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New Delhi: Nepal’s ruling party, Nepali Congress, has criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his announcement on road expansion across the Lipulekh area, which the Himalayan state also claims as its own.
During an election rally on December 30 in Uttarakhand, Modi had said that his government has “built the road up to Lipulekh and it is being expanded further”.
Over the last two weeks, Modi’s remarks have led to an outrage among the polity in Nepal. However, the Nepal government hasn’t issued any official statement on the matter.
On Friday evening, the principal party in the ruling coalition, Nepali Congress, issued a statement, as quoted by the Kathmandu-based Republica newspaper, saying: “The issue of the road construction in Lipulekh is against the agreement reached at the Nepal-India Joint Commission to resolve all bilateral issues through diplomatic negotiations is objectionable and this must be stopped immediately.”
The statement has been signed by the two general secretaries of the Nepali Congress. “The Nepali Congress is clear that Lipulekh, Limpiyadhura and Kalapani are Nepalese territory. Nepal should have its rights to use this geography. Indian troops stationed in Kalapani must be returned,” they said in the signed statement.
In 2020, the inauguration of a road in Lipulekh by defence minister Rajnath Singh had triggered a series of events that led Nepal Prime Minister and CPN leader K.P. Oli to issue a new political map, incorporating all its territorial claims.
While Nepali Congress is perceived to be friendlier towards India, all its lawmakers had also voted in favour of a constitutional amendment that embedded the outline of the new political map in the national emblem in June 2020.
Earlier this week, the main opposition party, CPN-UML, Bibeksheel Sajha Nepali and the ruling coalition partner, CPN (Unified Socialist), had also issued statements protesting Prime Minister Modi’s remarks.