Some Nepalese not happy with Prachanda visiting Ujjain temple, say it doesn’t befit a comrade

Sources point out that Prachanda’s wife is critically ill and one of the reasons for him to visit Mahakaleshwar could be to pray for her health.

NEW DELHI: Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, popularly known as Prachanda, has arrived in Delhi for his first state visit to India after he was sworn in as PM in December 2022. As announced after he assumed charge, India is his first port of call. However, some people back home in Nepal are not happy with his decision to visit the Mahakaleshwar temple in Ujjain.

"Prachanda’s decision to visit Ujjain doesn’t befit a communist leader. He is in India in his official capacity and we would have preferred if he had decided to hold business meetings in Mumbai or Hyderabad, rather than visit Mahakaleshwar temple. Nepalese economy is in dire need of growth and that should have been his focus area. Besides, the political situation in Nepal is precarious at present," Professor Vijay Kant Karna, former Nepalese Ambassador to Denmark, told The New Indian Express.

Sources point out that Prachanda’s wife is critically ill and one of the reasons for him to visit Mahakaleshwar could be to pray for her health.

"We would have much preferred if he had given credence to a business meeting rather than head for a religious place – specially because he is a communist," said a member of a Nepalese trade organisation.

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However, this is not the first time that a Nepalese PM is visiting a place of religious significance. When the past Nepalese PM, Sher Bahadur Deuba came to India in April 2022, he visited the Kashi Vishwanath temple in Varanasi. Deuba and his wife also performed the 'rudrabhishek' in the Kashi Vishwanath temple.

Meanwhile, Prachanda will be meeting PM Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and announce bilateral agreements with India which include digital payments between the two countries, power purchase agreements, air and rail connectivity among a host of other decisions.

Back home in Nepal, Prachanda is facing a challenge after the Bhutanese refugee scam was unearthed and he is seen to be losing popular support as top political leaders are involved.

Around 875 Nepalese citizens were hoodwinked and made to shell out millions with the lure of taking them to the US as Bhutanese refugees. Speculation is rife that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is involved in the investigation since the US has permitted Bhutanese people from Nepal to seek asylum.

Prachanda has denied that the FBI is involved in the investigation. Among those implicated in the investigation are a former deputy Prime Minister, home ministers, a home secretary, a police chief, prominent Bhutanese refugee rights activists and family members of political leaders.

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