Nepal's former prime minister and key Maoist ideologue Baburam Bhattarai, will be visiting India between February 28 and March 5. He is scheduled to attend a party event in Mumbai and spend time in New Delhi.
The visit comes at a time when Nepal is embroiled in political polarization. On Wednesday, the Indian government told Parliament it continues to support Nepal's transition to a 'constitutional federal democratic republic' and hoped Nepal's leaders would work together.
Bhattarai is expected to engage with Indian leaders and officials about the current constitutional moment in Nepal. As the chair of the political dialogue committee in the constituent assembly, he was a key figure in the debates. There are deep differences between the ruling parties led by Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) and opposition alliance of Maoist and Tarai parties on federal restructuring of the state and territorial demarcation.
The ruling parties have also threatened to bring the constitution through a majority vote, while the Opposition has insisted on a consensus between all forces. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stressed on the need for consensus on the constitution during his visit to Nepal in SAARC.
On Wednesday, responding to a question by Gorakhpur MP Yogi Adityanath, minister of state for external affairs VK Singh said political consensus on constitution drafting is still awaited.
He added that the political choices Nepal makes for itself is its 'internal matter', but expressed the belief that solutions and consensus would come through dialogue. "It is our expectation that Nepalese leaders will continue to work together in the final stages of the peace process, in drawing up a constitution that honors past understandings as well as the mandate of the elections."