CM Rai’s US visit attracts controversy

The ongoing US visit of Chief Minister (CM) of Province 1 Sher Dhan Rai has attracted controversy with questions being raised about whether he had informed the federal government to visit America or not.

CM Rai had left for Bangkok on November 2 for treatment. He left Bangkok to visit America via Germany three days later, according to a press statement released by his press advisor Dhruba Subedi, as the reports of tests done for his neck problems at Bumrungard International Hospital in Bangkok will arrive only on November 12 (Monday).

Spokesperson of the Province 1 government and Minister for Internal Affairs and Law Hikmat Karki claimed with the National News Agency (RSS) on Sunday that CM Rai informed the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers of his trip and personal funds will be used to finance CM Rai’s treatment and travel expenditure.

But none out of the federal Chief Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi, federal government Spokesperson and Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gokul Baskota and Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration Lal Babu Pandit could confirm with Setopati that CM Rai had informed the federal government to visit even Bangkok, forget about America.

“We must seek permission while going for formal programs. Even the prime minister has to inform the office for private visits. So, ministers must also inform for private visits,” Minister Pandit told Setopati. “CM should also inform and coordinate before visit.”

CM Rai has attended public program in America even as his secretariat claims that he is on a personal visit. The Federation of Indigenous Peoples of Nepal in America (FIPNA) felicitated CM Rai in a program at Jackson Heights in New York on Wednesday. “That program was not planned earlier. They apparently organized it after he reached America,” CM Rai’s press advisor Subedi told Setopati.

The federal government earlier in the year had controversially denied permission to Province 2 Chief Minister Lal Babu Raut to visit America. CM Raut had sought permission from the federal government to travel to the US after being invited to a program by General Convention of Madhesi Association in America in May.

But the federal government refused to grant permission saying Raut should not make any foreign visit and give his time to his province as the provincial government was yet to prepare annual policy and programs, and budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and the legislative body was still preparing to formulate vital laws.



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