Nepal Maoist leader Prachanda to visit India

New Delhi, April 26 (IANS) Former Nepalese prime minister and Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, who is slated to arrive in the Indian capital Saturday, is expected to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during which bilateral issues as well as elections to the Constituent Assembly are likely to figure, informed sources said.

Prachanda’s visit to India comes days after he returned from a week-long tour of China, during which he had met the new Chinese leadership and stressed on the need for increased economic cooperation between China and Nepal. Prachanda met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing..

An interim government led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi took over the country’s reins on March 14 to oversee Constituent Assembly (CA) elections, likely in November.

India has welcomed the formation of the interim government and said the formation of the Interim Election Government comes at a critical juncture in Nepal’s quest to hold Constituent Assembly-cum-parliament elections which are essential to consolidate the democratic gains made by its people and institutionalise a strong multi-party democracy in Nepal.

Former Indian ambassador to Nepal, Shivshankar Mukherjee, said the visit of the leader of one of the largest political parties of Nepal to New Delhi is significant, especially with the Constituent Assembly-parliamentary elections slated to be held in November.

“The elections dates are not fixed yet, but are likely in the second half of the year,” Mukherjee told IANS.

India has always has always stood for a way out of the political impasse and for elections in its northern neighbour with which it shares an open border and deep social and religious ties. Nepal has been without a parliament for nearly a year. The election would be held to choose an assembly to complete the drafting of Nepal’s first constitution after the abolition of the 239-year-old monarchy (Nepal was the world’s only Hindu kingdom) in 2008.

Prachanda is slated to address the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) at Sapru House on Monday.

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