New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's stop-over at Nepal's Janakpur was on Thursday cancelled at the last minute due to opposition by some political parties peeved over their non-inclusion in the preparatory committee.
Bimalendra Nidhi, Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport and also chief of the preparation committee in Janakpur, said, "I was informed by the Foreign Ministry here about the cancellation of Modi's visit to the religious site."
"I was saddened by the decision about cancellation of Modi's visit, as preparations for the visit was in the full swing by the people of Janakpur," added Nidhi.
The cancellation of Modi's visit to Janakpur comes in the wake of protests by opposition parties, mainly the UCPN-Maoist and the Madhesi parties, who were not included in the local preparation committee.
"The Unified CPN-Maoist and some Madhesi parties were not only staging rallies to oppose the preparations made by the organising committee, but they have also threatened to form a parallel preparation committee in connection with Modi's visit to Janakpur," Nidhi confirmed saying.
The UCPN-Maoist and Madhes-based parties also organised protest rallies against the preparation committee formed by the ruling parties to welcome Modi in Janakpur during his proposed visit.
The opposition political parties were opposing the preparations made by the committee headed by Nepali Congress leader and Transport Minister Nidhi, who was elected from Janakpur to the Parliament.
During his four-day trip to Nepal to attend the SAARC Summit, Modi was to visit three major pilgrimage sites — Janakpur, Lumbini and Muktinath — but his itinerary was trimmed.
Modi was earlier supposed to arrive in Janakpur on November 25 via land route and then fly to Kathmandu to attend the SAARC Summit.
In Janakpur, which happens to be Goddess Sita's place of birth, Modi was to attend the traditional 'Ram Barat' celebrations at the famous Ram-Janaki temple.
Currently his schedule still includes a helicopter visit to Muktinath, which is situated in the mountainous Mustang district in northern Nepal near the Tibet border.
Muktinath is both a Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage site. The temple of Lord Shiva is situated at the site. Muktinath is also famous for Buddhist pilgrimages as famous Buddhist monasteries are located there.
On his way back, Modi is to pay a visit to Lumbini, the birth place of Lord Buddha, situated in Nepal close to its border with India.
He is to make public appearances at the religious sites and also offer prayers. He is also expected to give public speeches at these sites, though detailed itinerary has not yet been finalised.
Security has been beefed up at the religious sites outside Kathmandu.
Integrated security plans have been implemented at the sites with the help of Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police personnel.
The capital city Kathmandu is being given a new look with solar street lights being installed, roads being blacktopped and roadside buildings being whitewashed for the upcoming SAARC Summit.
The City Hall, situated in the heart of the city, which can accommodate about 1,000 people, is being renovated to host the main event of the regional meet.
In Kathmandu, security has been stepped up with night patrolling and deployment of more security personnel in sensitive areas.
The SAARC Summit will be held from November 26-27.
With Agency Inputs