Prachanda backtracks on referendum on Nepal-India border row
Kathmandu: Maoist chairman Prachanda on Thursday retracted from his earlier stand to hold a referendum on the Nepal-India border disputes even as a key bilateral investment agreement with India was endorsed by his party.
These decisions were reached at the concluding session of the Maoists' largest meeting since the rebels toppled the monarchy in Nepal in 2006 after a decade-long civil war.
The ruling UCPN-Maoist has approved, in principle, the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) signed with India, according to party spokesman Agni Sapkota.
Prachanda has defended the BIPPA signed by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai during his India visit last year, saying that it was a right agreement for the country, sources said.
Earlier, Maoist Vice Chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha had expressed his reservation on the BIPPA claiming that it would not be in the interest of the nation.
However, the party has also suggested to form new national laws if certain provisions of the trade deal can have adverse impacts on the national capital, according to party sources.
The political paper presented by Prachanda had mentioned about holding referendum on border issue with India but later on he removed the phrase from his political dossier, saying it was a mistake, the spokesperson said.
It was later replaced by the clause "revoking unequal treaties and agreements signed in the past", he said.
Prachanda has rectified his earlier proposal to hold referendum on the Nepal-India border dispute after a senior leader of CPN-Maoist, the breakaway faction of the Maoist party, criticised his statement.
CPN-Maoist secretary C P Gajurel had said that by proposing to hold referendum on the border dispute with India, Prachanda was following the footsteps of Lhendup Dorje, the chief architect of Sikkim's accession to India.