Nepal has expressed shock and outrage over the comments of the Chief Minister of India’s Tripura state, Biplab Deb, who said the Union Home Minister Amit Shah has plans to establish the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) governments in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The Nepali media says RSS, the BJP’s parent organization, is already expanding its footprint in the Himalayan nation.
“We were having a small talk in the state guest house when Ajay Jamwal (northeast zonal secretary of BJP) said that BJP had formed its government in several states of India. In reply, Shah said that now Sri Lanka and Nepal are left. We have to expand the party in Sri Lanka, Nepal and win there to form a government,” East Mojo quoted Deb as saying.
Deb also highlighted that how the BJP, India’s ruling party, became the world’s largest party when Amit Shah was its president. He also said that the party had broken the records of Communists, who were known to make claims of being a global party.
Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali has said that the country has lodged a formal objection with the government of India over the matter. The Communist Party of Nepal (Prachanda faction) Central and Nepalese Migration Coordination Committee chairman Yuvraj Chaulgai have also lambasted Biplab Deb for his remarks, saying such statements were an insult to Nepal’s sovereignty.
Speaking to BBC, Yuvraj said, “This comment of the Chief Minister of the Bharatiya Janata Party shows what the ruling class of India thinks about Nepal. How can he say this? Nepal is a sovereign nation, and any comment about the country should respect that.”
इन जैसे लोगों के बेवकूफी भरे बयानों की वजह से आज भारत के पड़ोसी देशों के साथ रिश्ते सबसे खराब दौर में पहुंच चुके हैं। pic.twitter.com/z4z00CmglL
— Congress (@INCIndia) February 15, 2021
He says he’s surprised where the BJP gets such confidence to talk like this about Nepal. “They think since Hindus live in the majority in Nepal so they can say anything they want about the country. He said that doesn’t mean their sovereignty shouldn’t be respected.”
Deb’s comments kept dominating the newspaper headlines in Nepal. Nepali newspaper Naya Patrika wrote in its report on February 15, “Has this secret plan of the BJP come out? The RSS is already expanding its footprint in Nepal. In such a situation, is this comment of the BJP Chief Minister well-planned or coincidental? There was an RSS conference in Veerganj. This conference was inaugurated by Kalyan Timilsina, the national convenor of RSS in Nepal. A concern was raised about conversions and RSS volunteers took out a march from Virganj market.”
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or the RSS is the parent organization of the BJP. BBC quoted Hiranya Lal Shrestha, Nepal’s former ambassador to Russia, who said that Deb’s comments indicated fundamental thinking of the RSS and BJP.
“Like Sardar Patel, he also wants to expand India. They want the influence of Hinduism all over South Asia. But they should know that religion is a matter of personal faith and it has nothing to do with the state. Nobody’s sovereignty is small or big. Everyone’s sovereignty should be respected in the same way,” he said.
Shrestha further said that RSS wants to create the same impact in Nepal as it did in India. “RSS wants to expand its base across Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Nepal, but they should come out of these dreams,” he added.
Biplab Deb’s comments were severely criticized in his home country also, with the Opposition Congress saying such comments only tarnish the image of the nation in front of the world. The party termed the comments ‘stupid and dangerous.’
CPI (M) leader and former MP Jitendra Chaudhary also issued a condemnation of the BJP leader’s comments saying the chief minister “does not have any understanding of the Constitution and democracy.” He added that Amit Shah’s statements, as claimed by Deb, amounted to the interference of India in the internal affairs of a foreign country.
The Tripura Chief Minister’s comments were condemned across India by political parties and the netizens who say the BJP leader had a habit of issuing controversial statements.
— First India (@thefirstindia) February 15, 2021
According to a report in The Federal, even the Sri Lankan Election Commission issued a clarification saying it was impossible for a foreign party to form government in the island nation as the laws don’t permit such an arrangement.
Ever since Deb led his party BJP to a victory in Tripura, he has made numerous controversial remarks, irking both his party leaders and the opposition. He had once bizarrely claimed the existence of the internet during the era of Mahabharata, and at another time questioned the rationale of awarding the Miss World title to Diana Hayden.
In July last year, Deb had called Jats and Punjabis are “physically strong but less brainy” while Bengalis are known to be very intelligent. He later apologized after outrage over his comments which were deemed “irresponsible and reckless”.
In 2019, the Tripura Chief Minister had claimed that Mughals intended to destroy the cultural wonders of the state by “bombing” its arts and architecture.
According to Northeast Now, Deb even said that the country’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “invented” the Covid-19 vaccine, which is why the people weren’t afraid anymore.
According to the latest reports, addressing a gathering at Tripura Central University, Deb said, “When we think about England or London, pictures of the Cambridge University and Harvard University come to our mind.” Harvard University is situated in the United States.