Oli to invite Modi for Bibaha Panchami

  • Ayodhya to janakpur
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Oct 17, 2018-

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli will invite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the wedding procession (baraat) event from Ayodhya to Janakpur during the Bibaha Panchami, his chief adviser has said.

Prime Minister Oli’s Chief Adviser Bishnu Rimal confirmed the PM would invite Modi to take part in Ram-Janaki Bibaha  Panchami in Jankpur.

“Both the leaders had discussed about the plan. The PM will send a letter to Modi inviting him to take part in the wedding procession in Ram-Janaki temple,” said Rimal.

During the fourth BIMSTC Summit held this August in Kathmandu, both prime ministers had discussed the plan of PM Modi taking part in the Bibaha  Panchami on December 12 and then inaugurating the Janakpur-Jayanagar railway track.

PM Modi will bring the baraat from Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Rama to Janakpur where Sita was born. In ancient times, according to the Ramayana, Lord Rama of Ayodhya had married Sita in Janakpur.

During the visit, PM Oli and PM Modi will jointly inaugurate the Janakpur-Jayanagar railway that has almost completed its test drive. Nepal will wet lease from India to run the railway service between these two cities.

PM Modi visited Janakpur during his visit to Nepal earlier this year in May. He inaugurated the bus service between Ayodhya- Jankpur and stressed the importance of the revered pilgrimage site while announcing Rs 1 billion aid to the Province No 2.  

PM Oli’s Press Adviser Kundan Aryal said, “Discussions and preparations are going on about the visit of PM Modi to Janakpur, but his visit is yet to be confirmed.”

PM Modi’s planned visit coincides with Bibaha Panchami, the day Ram and Sita wedded, accompanied by a symbolic wedding procession (baraat). Probably a large number of Indian officials and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders would accompany Modi.

One political analyst describes this as a strategic move to influence voters residing in northern India, particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, via television coverage of the events in Janakpur ahead of India’s Lower House (Lok Sabha) elections in 2019.   

Basically, PM Modi has two objectives, the analyst said. He would bring a team of wedding procession from India via the newly-built railway track and participate in the Bibha-Panchami as well as inaugurate the new railway track.

The Janakpur-Jayanagar railway track is almost complete and railway officials have conducted a test drive as well. In the first week of August, railway officials successfully completed the test-run of route that was lying dormant for the last four years.

Nepal and India are yet to finalise the modality of movement of the railway. Nepal favours wet leasing the railway because of it lacks technically qualified rail professionals.

Nepal’s Department of Railway has also already announced that train wet leased from India for the Janakpur-Jayanagar-Kurtha railway sector would start this December. The department has already sought related documents from India before signing the agreement.

So the plan is to accomplish two tasks in one visit, said the analyst.

A railway department official said, it would recruit and train Nepali staff and “gradually phase out the Indian crew”. The Janakpur-Jayanagar-Kurtha broad-gauge railway line was built at a cost of Rs8.8 billion with support from the Indian government.

Modi visited Nepal in 2014 and later, in the same year, visited again to participate in 18th Saarc Summit. Next, he visited this year in May and visited Lumbini and Janakpur. If he visits Nepal on December as per plans, this would be his fifth visit to Nepal.

Published: 17-10-2018 08:16

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