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Kolkata was of great help to us: Ram Baran

Staff Reporter

— Photo: Sushanta Patronobish

Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav lighting a lamp on the occasion of the Calcutta Medical College's 177th Foundation Day on Friday. West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee looks on.

KOLKATA: At a time when Nepal is facing a political crisis, the country's President Ram Baran Yadav on his first visit to Kolkata after assuming office recalled here on Friday “the great contribution this city has made in Nepal's long struggle for democracy, freedom, civil rights and the rule of law.”

Dr. Yadav, who spent 10 years here studying medicine, said: “Kolkata was of great help as Nepal entered the modern era. Nepal in its freedom struggle drew inspiration from the Indian freedom struggle.”

“This is the city where the great democratic leaders of Nepal…held the first conclave of the Nepali Congress, a premier political organisation of Nepal. The Communist Party of Nepal was also born here. Leaders of Nepal had a fruitful stay in this city during the struggle against the autocratic reign in the 1940s,” he added.

He was speaking at the 177th Foundation Day celebrations of the Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata (formerly known as the Calcutta Medical College).

Dr. Yadav, who is an alumnus of the institute, said he was fortunate to have studied here at a time when there were only a handful of modern doctors in Nepal.

Asked to comment on the failure of the three major political parties in Nepal – the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the Nepali Congress (NC), and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) — to meet the deadline set by him and agree on a consensus government, Dr. Yadav said that everything would be fine.

There has been a caretaker government led by Madhav Nepal for the past seven months.

Peace process

“We are in the peace process. If there is any problem, we will come out of it,” he said.

The President said that the visit to Kolkata was like a homecoming for him even though he had lived here 33 years ago. “I could still converse in Bengali when speaking with Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee!” he said.

The Chief Minister, who was also present, elaborated on the history of the institute.

The foundation stones for a new Out Patients Department (OPD), CT scan, Cardiac Cath laboratory, Angiography laboratory and a mammography unit were laid at the event.

Maoists' problem

Speaking to journalists on the Maoist situation in West Bengal, he said he was confident that the Centre and State governments would be able to handle it effectively. Dr. Yadav, who lived in the city in the years when the Naxal movement was at its peak in the State, was reluctant to comment on the current situation in the Maoist-affected Jangalmahal region.

“On this issue I think the State and Central governments will take care of the situation. I hope everything will be okay,” he said, on the sidelines of the celebrations of the Foundation Day.

In 2006, the Maoists and the government of Nepal had signed a peace accord, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) declaring a formal end to the insurgency. In the 2008 elections to the Constituent Assembly, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) won a majority of the seats, although they failed to achieve an outright majority.

Even though Maoist leader Prachanda, who became Prime Minister of the country, and several other Ministers have since resigned and there has been a change in power, the party continues to be a part of the democratic system.

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