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Warring Nepali politicians unite for tourism

world Updated: Dec 31, 2010 01:11 IST
Utpal Parashar

They may have their differences over sharing power, but on Thursday Nepal's political bigwigs came together to promote the country to foreign tourists.

Senior leaders from major parties united as part of a 40-km motorcycle rally from Thankot in Kathmandu to Nagarkot in neighbouring Bhaktapur district to promote Nepal Tourism Year 2011.

Despite the ongoing political deadlock over government formation and an uneasy peace, Nepal is hoping to double its tourist inflow to a million visitors during next 12 months.

Besides acting as a pre-event to the actual launch on January 11, the rally organized by Nepal Tourism Board and tourism operators sought support from political parties for its success.

Strikes, road blockades and demonstrations by political parties and their sister organizations are major causes of concern for foreign tourists coming to Nepal.

Tuesday's event was flagged off by Constituent Assembly Chairman Subhash Nemwang and opposition United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

"I hope Nepal Tourism Year 2011 will attract tourists and also help develop a new kind of political understanding among the parties," said Dahal.

Stressing on political stability for tourism growth, Nemwang, who is under pressure to end the political deadlock soon, thanked organizers for bringing political honchos together for a common cause.

At Kalanki Chowk the 300 motorcyclists were greeted by president of Nepali Congress Sushil Koirala who gave his party's commitment to make NTY 2011 a success.

Communist Party of Nepal (UML) chief Jhalanath Khanal and Madheshi Janadhikar Forum's Upendra Yadav and Nepal Peasants and Workers Party's Narayanman Bijjukche greeted the rally at other stages.

Nepal is without an effective government since June 30 and despite 16 rounds of voting in parliament lawmakers have not been able to elect a replacement for caretaker PM Madhav Kumar Nepal.