Nepal’s ambassador to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyay, was recalled on Friday because of his alleged attempt to have Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli ousted, according to officials in Nepal’s foreign ministry.
Though no formal announcement was made, officials, on the condition of anonymity, told journalists that Upadhyay was accused of playing a role in the power struggle that nearly deposed Oli’s government.
His non-cooperation with the ministry and a recent visit to the restive Madhes region bordering India with Indian ambassador Ranjit Rae were also cited as reasons for the decision.
Upadhyay’s summons came just a day after Oli’s Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) managed to keep its alliance with the Maoists intact. An important partner in the coalition, the Maoists was backed by Nepali Congress, the main opposition, and sought to install a national unity government headed by their chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.
The move fizzled out since Prachanda failed to find adequate support and Oli agreed to address the Maoists’ grievances by signing a nine-point agreement that included withdrawal of civil war-related cases.
Certain sections in Oli’s party however believe the threat to the government was orchestrated in New Delhi.
In an apparent snub, the government on Friday morning decided to cancel President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s official visit to India, which was to begin from Monday. Bhandari’s visit had been finalised on Kathmandu’s request.
Nepal’s foreign secretary, Sankar Das Bairagi, informed Rae that the visit was cancelled due to lack of preparation by the Nepali side, and also because the country’s budget session was underway.
The move surprised New Delhi as well as Upadhyay who immediately spoke to Oli over the phone to express his displeasure. Instead, the decision to recall the ambassador was taken soon after.
Foreign ministry sources say Upadhyay is also blamed for failing in his duties during Oli’s India visit this February.
Upadhyay, a senior Nepali Congress leader and former minister, was appointed ambassador to India in April last year by the Sushil Koirala-led government where the Communist party was a major partner.