KATHMANDU, JULY 17
Although the constitution of Nepal stipulates Nepal as a secular state, major political parties appear to be inclined towards Hindu politics with the exception of Rastriya Prajatantra Party, which openly advocates that the country ought to be a Hindu state.
CPN-Maoist Center supremo and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s recent visit to India and the Pashupatinath temple in Kathmandu is seen as evident signifiers of the ideological inclination of major political parties towards Hindu politics. Thus, it may be observed that Rastriya Prajatantra Party is not the only Hindu party for other political parties like the CPN-Maoist Center and Nepali Congress may not be so far behind.
Earlier, the controversy had flared up when PM Dahal visited Mahakaleshwar temple with his high level delegation comprising several cabinet ministers, including Finance Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat and Foreign Minister NP Saud during his India visit. Before that, there was also the visit to Pashupatinath temple premises.
Similarly, in April, during the three-day International Conference on Manaskhanda – a conference based on philosophy of Hinduism – the dignitaries were Nepali Congress lawmaker Arzu Rana Deuba and BJP’s In Charge, Foreign Affairs, Vijay Chauthaiwale.
And today, the RPP flaunted its identification with the Hindu identity. It played the Hindu card, probably a strategy to cash in on the sentiments of more than eighty per cent of the population, who are Hindus.
The party took out a religious procession from Maitidevi to Pashupatinath temple today. Leaders and cadres of RPP gathered at Maitidevi temple and participated in a religious walk to Pashupatinath temple with holy water (Kalash).
The procession was joined by RPP President Rajendra Lingden, leaders Rabindra Mishra, Deepak Bahadur Singh and other leaders and cadres as well as well-wishers and Hindu devotees.
They chanted slogans about the importance of Hinduism.
They chanted, “Hail Sanatan Hindu state, our country, our religion, more important than our lives.”
RPP leaders said the religious procession aimed to protect the country from imported religions, cultures and traditions, and bring together like-minded forces.
“We have planned to give continuity to such religious processions or campaigns nationally to educate the Nepali people about their religion,” said RPP Chair Rajendra Lingden, “We have organized this religious procession to establish Nepal as a Hindu state and make people more conscious about the significance of Hinduism.”
Similarly, RPP lawmaker Deepak Bahadur Singh said, “We have seen the likes of former PM Madhav Nepal as well as the current PM Dahal. It is clear why they have removed Hinduism from the constitution. Therefore, it is time to restore our own religion .”
Likewise, during the walk, when Rabindra Mishra was asked: How will the Hindu state be restored? He said, “Hindu state is needed, otherwise, our religion, culture, and country will be ruined. Stop voting for ‘unrighteous parties’, the Hindu state will be restored.
Hindu state will not be restored by saying Hindu state is needed and voting for a secularist party.”
Meanwhile, The United States’ recent report on International Religious Freedom alleged that political parties of Nepal and India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, could stand as threats to secularism as intolerance was growing.
The report also alleged that the BJP and other Hindu groups in India are indirectly funding high profile politicians of major parties such as the Rastriya Prajatantra Party to speak in favor of restoring the Hindu state.
The Rastriya Prajatantra Party has termed the report of the US Department of State ‘baseless’.
Lingden had written to the US Ambassador to Nepal Dean R Thompson, saying, “The report contains baseless allegations against the RPP.”
A version of this article appears in the print on July 18, 2023, of The Himalayan Times.