Koirala to gift Pashupatinath’s replica to Modi

Kathmandu: In a symbolic gesture, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sushil Koirala will gift a replica of Pashupatinath, a revered Hindu shrine in Kathmandu, to India’s Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi who is to be sworn-in Monday.

The replica is fixed with a Shivalinga and will be presented to Modi as a souvenir.

Top diplomatic sources here told IANS that the rare gift for Modioc was the choice of Koirala, and it will be presented after Modi takes oath of office. Koirala left for New Delhi Monday morning.

The people of Nepal, 80 percent of whom are Hindus, are upbeat about Modi and Koirala too has expressed the hope that due to Modi’s long attachment with pro-Hindu organisations, he may visit Nepal soon to worship Pashupatinath and Muktinath.

Newspapers have devoted opinion and commentary pieces to Modi’s future strategies, and there is great interest in the Himalayan republic in what Modi means for Nepal.

Having already requested Modi to visit Nepal when he congratulated  him on the election victory, Prime Minister Koirala, before leaving for New Delhi with some senior editors, said he would extend a formal invitation when the two leaders formally meet.

Koirala said Modi’s invitations to regional leaders at his swearing-in ceremony suggest his concern for stability in the region.

According to Nepal’s foreign ministry, Koirala will meet Modi Tuesday morning, and pay a courtesy call on President Pranab Mukherjee.

Koirala is also scheduled to meet Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and outgoing Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, besides other distinguished political leaders.

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