ANI Photo | Nepali Congress to hold discussions with other parties to declare Nepal ‘Hindu state’: Shankar Bhandari

The Nepali Congress will hold discussions with other parties and work to declare Nepal a Vedic Sanatan Hindu state, party leader and member of Parliament Shankar Bhandari said.
In an interview with ANI, Shankar Bhandari, who has been leading the “Vedic Sanatan Hindu Rastra establishment campaign” within the Nepali Congress, claimed reinstatement of the Hindu state would be a course correction in Nepali politics.
“What we believe, attempt and request with all existing parties in the Federal Parliament would be to hold discussion with them. We have also been informed that the Nepal Communist Party is also worried about increasing conversion, and it is counterproductive. We all should work together for Vedic Sanatan Hinduism, other parties have also noticed this, and we are confident about it,” Bhandari said.
He further said that they will soon start a national debate over it and hold discussions with political parties, adding that they need a two-third majority to declare a Hindu state.
“As per our constitutional provision, we need a two-third majority (to declare Hindu state); serious error which was made at the time of promulgation of constitution- intentional or out of ignorance, we should not be late to rectify those errors, we are determined on it. We will soon start a national debate over it and hold conversations with political parties,” he said.
The campaign launched by Bhandari gained popularity during the five-day Maha Samiti meeting held in Godawari, Lalitpur, on February 19.
Bhandari’s campaign to collect signatures to pressure the party’s top leaders managed to get the signatures of about 1100 participants out of the 1950 designated members of the Maha Samiti meeting.
During the concluding session of the party’s mass meeting, Bhandari submitted the collected signatures to party President Sher Bahadur Deuba, who then promised to take the issue to the Central Committee meeting.
Among those 42 signatories are the central members of Nepal’s largest party in parliament, which includes former General Secretary, Shashank Koirala.
However, the agenda for a Hindu nation was not deliberated upon during the Maha Samiti meeting.
After the 2006 People’s Movement-II, Nepal reinstated democracy, overthrowing centuries-old monarchies. In successive years, it became a republican nation and adopted a new democratic and republican constitution in September 2015.
After the overthrow of the monarchy, Nepal became a secular state, changing its status from a Hindu state where the monarch or the king were worshipped and regarded as the reincarnation of Lord Narayan.
Upon being asked whether the Nepali Congress in the long term is aiming to reinstate the monarchy in the Himalayan nation, the leader rejected the claims and said, “It (monarchy) came on as a practice from the past, but there is no mention of the king being worshipped as God in any of the Hindu scriptures, there are different theories and policies regarding it.”
He further said that since the 16th century, Hinduism in Nepal has been targeted.
“Since the 16th century, the eternal Hinduism of Nepal has continued to remain a target, as per my knowledge. There have been attempts to hinder it by linking it with monarchy, the intervention of foreign nations, and raising tensions alleging it to be against ethnic groups. We have already taken note of this and we will hold a ground-level discussion in case it is needed, explain to all, in between the political parties and make them clear that it is not against any ethnic groups or personal freedom,” he added.
Notably, demands for a Hindu state have been rising in Nepal, as other parties have also continued to stage protests and agitations demanding the reinstatement of the religious identity of the nation.
The Rastriya Prajatantra Party, a pro-monarch faction, has also launched their campaign for a Hindu state, with the reinstatement of monarchy as their demand.
Congress leader Bhandari clarified that his party would only support the demands of the Hindu state but not the constitutional monarchy to achieve the aim.
During the previous Mahasamiti meeting, 714 individuals expressed their support for a Hindu nation by signing a petition, which was then submitted to the party president.
Additionally, 22 central members presented their signatures to President Deuba, urging for the inclusion of the Hindu nation agenda in the Mahasamiti meeting discussions.
Moreover, Hinduism is the most followed religion in the Himalayan nation, which stands at 81 per cent out of the total population, i.e., 291 million, 64 thousand and 578, as per the census of 2021.
Similarly, 23,93,549 people, i.e., 8.21 per cent, follow Buddhism, 5.09 per cent follow Islam, 3.17 per cent follow Kirant and 1.76 per cent follow Christianity.

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