BJP leader's 'Hindu state' remarks in Nepal spark off row



A visiting BJP leader's remarks on Nepal's future political structure sparked off a major controversy Wednesday and were slammed by opposition parties, prompting the Indian embassy to seek to end the row, terming the statements her personal views and not the official stand.

"The embassy's attention has been drawn to press reports relating to purported statements made by Renu Devi, vice president of Bharatiya Janata Party of India, during her recent visit to Nepal. The embassy is not aware of the veracity of these statements. However, in the event that the statements as reported in the media were made, they are Renu Devi's own views and in no way do they reflect the policy of the Government of India," said the embassy in a press release.

In her remarks, made at a media meet here Tuesday and was widely carried by several Nepali media outlets Wednesday, Renu Devi urged the Nepali leadership not to opt federalism based on ethnicity and also called for reinstating Nepal as a Hindu state.

She said that as an old and good friend of Nepal, India never supports for ethnicity based federalism in Nepal as the country would "disintegrate in several pieces".

"It was designed by the West," she said while expressing concern over increasing Christian activities in Nepal. Nepali leaders should unite and should remain alert on time, she said.

Renu Devi, who was accompanied by other BJP leaders including Vijay Jolly, Sushil Kumar Jaisawal, Sandeed Shrivastava and Shiv Shankar Oraon, also informed that she would apprise the ground reality of Nepal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

In response to the statements, United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist vice chairman and former deputy prime minister Narayan Kaji said: "BJP leaders must stop their expressions and activities undermining the sovereignty of the people of Nepal. It should be secular or whatever, it is up to us."

The issue of federalism, and its details like the number of states and their basis, have become a bone of contention among various parties ensuring that Nepal could not have a new constitution throughout the tenure of the first Constituent Assembly which came up in 2008. The second assembly, which was installed in 2013 end, has also not been able to reach an understanding on the issue as of now.

Different positions over the issue of federalism among the ruling Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist and opposition UCPN-Maoist and the Madhesi Morcha have been derailing the constitution drafting process. The Maoists and Madhesis are calling for identity and ethnicity-based federalism. - IANS