Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” has cancelled his visit to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly to handle pressing domestic issues, including the demands of the Madhesi people.
Prachanda and his delegation were scheduled to fly to New York on Monday evening to participate in the UN meet. Foreign minister Prakash Sharan Mahat will now lead the delegation.
Prachanda decided not to leave the country because of demands from various quarters that he should address the grievances of the Madhesi, Tharu and Janajati people instead of going on a foreign visit, according to a statement issued by the premier’s secretariat.
Heeding calls that he should remain in the country at this “sensitive time” and focus on implementing the Constitution and carrying out reconstruction works, Prachanda cancelled the trip, the statement added.
Sources said another reason behind the visit’s cancellation was the levelling of corruption charges against the top Maoist leadership, including Prachanda, by Nepal’s anti-graft watchdog.
The Commission for Investigation of the Abuse of Authority (CIAA) decided last week to summon top Maoist leaders as part of its probe into the alleged embezzlement of more than Rs 6 billion from funds meant for rehabilitating former Maoist guerrillas.
Prachanda returned to Nepal on Sunday after a visit to India, his first foreign trip after assuming office in August.
The premier has put the issue of amending the new Constitution to address the grievances and aspirations of political parties based in the Madhes region bordering India at the top of his agenda but little has been done so far.
Monday marks the first anniversary of the promulgation of the Constitution by the Constituent Assembly. There is fanfare in Kathmandu and the government has declared a public holiday but the Madhes-based parties have dubbed it as “Black Day”.
In a separate statement issued on Monday to mark the occasion, Prachanda said his government is serious about amending the Constitution to address the demands of Madhes-based parties and others groups.
Though some demands of the Madhesi parties have been addressed by the government, the major one – amendments of the statute and changes in federal boundaries of seven provinces – is yet to be tackled.