KATHMANDU, Jan 31: Surendra Pandey, a key leader of the agitating Dahal-Nepal faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party, on Sunday said that speculation is rife that Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is going to proclaim Nepal as a Hindu state later this week.
Speaking at a sit-in organized by his faction of the party, Pandey said that Prime Minister Oli is making efforts to reinstate the Hindu state as he is currently treading the path of pro-royalists.
"His recent activities suggest that the prime minister is pushing the country back to regression. Also, speculation is rife that he is going to proclaim Nepal as a Hindu state on February 5," Pandey said, referring to Prime Minister Oli's visit to Pashupatinath to offer special worship a couple of days ago and his announcement to rebuild a temple of a Lord Rama during a program in Chitwan on Saturday.
The statement from the rival faction of the NCP comes at a time when leaders close to PM Oli are claiming that Oli will deliver some exceptional remarks during a mass gathering being organized by the Oli-led faction on February 5 on the road in front of Narayanhiti, the former royal palace.
Pandey, who is also a vocal critic of Oli, said that Prime Minister Oli is pretending himself as the head priest and trying to mislead people by talking about religion, instead of driving the communist movement. "Oli's recent act of dissolving parliament is only hailed by pro-royalists and some of them are calling him a statesman. What does it mean?" Pandey asked.