Kathmandu : A three-day religious meet that kicked off in India is seeking fresh action to restore Nepal as a Hindu state.
The international meet on Hinduism that began Sunday in Mumbai is being addressed by the chief of Nepal’s only openly royalist party, Kamal Thapa, and Indian politicians like Bal Thackeray, former chief minister of Maharashtra Manohar Joshi and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Gopinath Munde.
Thapa heads the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, the only party that contested the historic election in 2008 campaigning for a Hindu kingdom in Nepal, going against the popular political wave led by the former Maoist guerrillas. The election resulted in the abolition of monarchy and Nepal being declared a secular republic.
“At the Mumbai meet, to be attended by over 1,500 delegates from all over the world, Thapa will be arguing for the restoration of a Hindu state in Nepal,” said Rajaram Shrestha, former mayor of Kathmandu and prominent leader of the royalist party.
The Mumbai meet is also being addressed by former Nepali minister Khum Bahadur Khadka, whose ruling Nepali Congress party is divided over the issues of state religion and monarchy.
Khadka has been advocating the restoration of monarchy and a Hindu state in Nepal.
Two months ago, BJP’s former chief Rajnath Singh had visited Kathmandu when he announced his party’s support for a Hindu state in Nepal.
Thapa’s party has said it will oppose the new constitution – that is expected to bring peace in Nepal – unless the government holds a referendum before it to decisively settle the issues of monarchy and a Hindu state.
Nepal’s deposed king Gyanendra, who left his throne after a pro-democracy movement in 2006, has also said recently that Nepal should become a Hindu state again and monarchy could return if people wanted it.
The pro-Hindutva group has been strengthened by the failure of the major parties to work in harmony and the new constitution is now not likely to be ready by its deadline of May 28.
Should that happen, Thapa is asking for fresh elections where royalists hope to make greater gains than in the 2008 polls when they were mostly defeated.