Nepal’s deputy prime minister and home minister Bimalendra Nidhi arrived in India on Thursday evening as the special envoy of the newly elected Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’. He is expected to prepare the ground for his PM’s visit to India tentatively scheduled for September 15-18, and invite President Pranab Mukherjee to visit Kathmandu this year.
His visit is being seen as a sign of the warm equation Delhi shares with the new government in Kathmandu. Nidhi will meet Mukherjee, PM Narendra Modi, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and home minister Rajnath Singh, besides National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and other top officials.
In a sign of the balancing act that Nepal is trying to attempt between its two neighbours, Nidhi’s visit comes days after another deputy PM and finance minister, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, visited Beijing to assure China that all agreements signed by the previous KP Oli government would be sincerely implemented by the new dispensation. China, high-level sources have confirmed to HT, was keen to see the Oli dispensation continue.
Right before his departure, the Nepal government, in a cabinet meeting, decided to declare those who were killed during the Madhes movement as martyrs and pay their families compensation. It has also decided to set up a commission to investigate the killings during the movement last year. These were important preconditions of the Madhesi Front for a conducive environment for political reconciliation. Their core demand of a constitutional amendment remains pending.
Nidhi is one of the closest aides of Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba, whose support enabled Prachanda’s elevation as PM. Nidhi played a role in brokering the alliance. He is a Madhesi leader from the historic Janakpur area, but has stayed on in a national party rather than join a regional outfit.