Nepal MP under fire for alleged Indian links
A member of Nepal's newly-elected Constituent Assembly has come under fire after media in this Himalayan nation exposed his alleged association with Indian politics in the past.
Sections of the media reported that Kedar Nandan Chaudari, representing the Tarai Madhesh Loktantrik Party (TMLP) in the Constituent Assembly, contested and lost the local election of Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation in India's Uttar Pradesh state in 2004 from Khora-Makanpur area.
Chaudari has been picked by the TMLP as Constituent Assembly member under the proportional representation system and a section of Nepali media reported that he was made member of parliament after he "financially assisted" chairman of the party, Mahantha Thakur, during the Constituent Assembly elections in November last year.
Some lawmakers of the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) like Ram Hari Khatiwada, Bhishma Raj Angdambe and Kamal Pangeni Thursday demanded a probe into his alleged dalliance with Indian politics and sought a clarification on the allegations made by media.
"I draw the attention of the speaker about Chaudari's alleged involvement in Indian politics and request a probe into it," Khatiwada said in the house Thursday.
The NC lawmakers also wanted to know how Chaudari obtained dual citizenship, on what basis a person who had lost an election in India was picked as an MP and why he should not be expelled from the house.
According to Indian law, non-Indian nationals cannot contest elections at any level.
While refuting the media reports, Chaudari told The Himalayan Times that he was a bonafide Nepali citizen and his ancestors belonged to Nepal.
"My father was a Nepali Congress cadre and several top Congress leaders have visited my house in the past," the daily quoted him Friday as saying.
"I too joined the Congress and was arrested in 1980 during the political upheaval," he said.
But he conceded that "not me but my wife", who is an Indian citizen, had contested an election in India, said the report.
Chaudari has obtained Nepali citizenship from Sarlahi district of Nepal and his citizenship number is 696/1166.
"It means that Chaudary holds dual citizenship, so the house should clarify its position," said Khatiwada.
However, Constituent Assembly chairman Subhash Chandra Nemwang is yet to issue any ruling to the government in this regard.
Naya Patrika, a vernacular Nepali daily, carried a front page news item in its Feb 23 edition on Chaudary's controversial political background.
"Later in 2008, his second wife, Meera Chaudari, also contested the election from the same area and won under the women's quota," the news report said.
The newspaper also reported that Chaudari still owned a bungalow in Khora Colony in Khora-Makanpur area and his wife, Meera, was still living there.
The paper further claimed that Chaudari still possessed an Indian ration card. According to Nepali law, a foreign national needs to become a naturalised Nepali citizen -- and abandon any foreign identity cards -- before contesting an election in Nepal.
The newspaper also alleged that before being nominated as a proportional representation system candidate from the TMLP, Chaudari had divorced his second wife while preparing the ground to be eligible for his foray into Nepali politics.
(Anil Giri can be contacted at email@example.com)
(Posted on 07-03-2014)