External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today held one-on-one meeting with the Left alliance leader and CPN-UML chairman K P Sharma Oli and the two leaders discussed ways to take the special relationship between India and Nepal forward. Oli, who is likely to be the next prime minister, called on Swaraj at Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza here this evening. “In her first engagement, EAM @SushmaSwaraj met Mr K P Sharma Oli, Chairman of CPN-UML and congratulated him on his Party’s victory in the recent elections,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Ravish Kumar said. The two leaders held wide ranging discussions on ways to take the special relationship between India and Nepal forward, Kumar said.
Swaraj congratulated the Nepalese people and the government for successful conclusion of the elections, senior CPN-UML leader Pradeep Gyawali said. She also congratulated Oli for the clear mandate received by the Left alliance in the Parliamentary elections, he said. She said Nepal and India enjoy cordial relations and government of India is eagerly looking to work with the new Left alliance government. After successfully conducting elections Nepal has attained political stability which will be instrumental in attaining economic prosperity for the country, she said. On his part, Oli said his party is eager to work in collaboration with neighbouring countries and would forge partnership with India to move forward the country towards the path of economic prosperity.
According to CPN-UML sources, the meeting lasted for 45 about minutes. Oli also hosted a dinner in honour of Swaraj, who arrived today on a two-day official visit to Nepal. Swaraj also met with leaders of Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, including Rajendra Mahato and Mahanta Thakur, and Federal Socialist Party Nepal president Upendra Yadav. She is the first senior Indian minister to visit Nepal after the conclusion of elections to local bodies, provincial assemblies and federal Parliament. Her visit is being considered significant in the political circles here. Nepal successfully concluded three phase of provincial, local and parliamentary elections as part of its efforts to implement the new Constitution that was promulgated in September 2015.
The Left alliance of CPN (UML) and the CPN (Maoist Center) won a majority of the seats in parliamentary polls. The alliance is preparing to form a new government which is expected to be headed by Oli. Oli, through a letter, had congratulated Modi on the 69th Republic Day of India. Earlier, Swaraj was welcomed at the Tribhuvan International Airport by Deputy Finance Minister Udaya Shumsher Rana and Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi. “I have come to meet friends here and there is no fixed agenda for discussion,” Swaraj told reporters at the airport. Swaraj will call on President Bidhya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba tomorrow. She will also meet CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman and former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ over breakfast.
The clear victory to the Left alliance — CPN-UML led by Oli and the CPN-Maoist led by Prachanda — was not seen as a positive development for India given that Oli had publicly criticised New Delhi for interfering in Nepal’s internal matters and accused it of toppling his government last year.