The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nepal PM on support recce

New Delhi, Nov. 21: Nepalese Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa, with his back to the wall amid growing resignation demands from both within and outside his party, is coming to Delhi on Sunday to enlist India’s support.

A deadline set by the president of Thapa’s Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Pashupati Shamsher Rana, expires today. But Thapa held a news conference in Kathmandu yesterday to make it clear that he had no desire to quit, leading to the possibility of a split in the RPP.

The ostensible reason behind Thapa’s visit is to discuss the forthcoming Saarc summit in Islamabad. Nepal is currently the chairman of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. Over the next few days, the Nepalese Premier is also scheduled to visit other member countries.

But the country’s foreign ministry admitted that Thapa would also discuss important bilateral issues with India.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is scheduled to hold a lunch for Thapa on Monday and the two leaders are likely to discuss the situation in Nepal in view of the present political crisis. Thapa will also meet other senior Indian leaders and explain his stand.

Known to be close to India, Thapa would try to enlist the country’s support and ensure that it does not join the resignation chorus.

If there is a crisis in the ruling RPP, the Opposition is no better. The five-party alliance of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist), the Nepali Congress, the Sadbhavna Party, the Nepal Mazdoor-Kisan Party and the Jana Morcha can neither force King Gyanendra to restore democracy nor resolve the Maoist crisis.

The alliance, too, has been asking Thapa to quit and demanding that an all-party government be put in its place. However, the problem lies in deciding who would be the next Prime Minister.

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