New Government, Fresh Expectations

New Nepal PM may repair the ties with India that were damaged by PM Oli

Former, and ousted, Prime minister, Kharag Prasad Oli will be remembered in the history of Nepal for damaging ages old relations between two nations which is evident from his illegal and unconstitutional recommendations of dissolution of the parliament in a span of five months which were set aside by Supreme court. Analysts believe that President Bidya Bhandari also contributed in

scuttling the constitution as she accepted Oli's recommendations without examining the validity and legality besides her failure to explore the possibility of formation of alternate government which existed at that point of time.

In the prevailing scenario, three party alliance headed by Nepali congress leader, Sher Bahadur Deuba has brightened the chances of repairing the damaged ties and Indian Prime Minister, Narender Modi was first to congratulate the new prime minister who has also expressed his commitment and optimism to closely work with Indian government.

New PM faces lot of challenges

Deuba will have to repair the age old ties between two nations which

were damaged by former PM Oli who created controversies which were directed against India. Deuba can not ignore China which has already started a big investment in Nepal and premier Xinping had signed 18 projects having an investment of 200 billion Nepali rupees on Oct 12, 2019 and financial assistance of 56 billion NPR for uplifting standard of living of Nepalis during his maiden visit. Deuba will face one of the biggest challenges of controlling the current Covid crisis and the government has got no stock of vaccines thereby leaving the infected people to die.

The Supreme Court has also ruled that introduction of the budget for the next fiscal year 2021-22 hence new PM will have to prepare new budgetary proposals.

Prime Minister, Oli’s determination to cling to power coupled with complete disregard for constitutional norms resulted in the illegal recommendation to dissolve parliament twice in a span of five months and President Bidya Bhandari accepted the cabinet decision without examining its legal validity which resulted in supreme court’s ruling to set aside it thereby virtually saving the democracy in this Himalayan Kingdom. Oli had created controversies like redrawing the map and showed Indian territories in Nepal besides vehemently opposing the construction of road to Manserover by India.

The defections from former prime minister, Kharag Prsad Oli’s Nepal Communist Party, NCP (UML) leading to a very comfortable victory to Prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba while recently seeking vote of confidence in parliament clearly indicate that it is a good omen for India and a big set back to China as Oli had damaged ages old ties between Nepal and India to the hilt, that too at the behest of the Dragon.

Prime minister secured 165 votes as against required majority of 136 in the house of 275 including Nepali Congress - 61, Pushap Dahal’s Maoists Centre- 49, Samajbadi Party’s both factions - 32(two suspended), 23 MPs from Madhav Nepal faction of Ex PM Oli’s CPN(UML) party also voted in favour of Deuba which was against the dictate of their leader.

Madhav Nepal faction had signed a petition filed by Deuba on May 21 in supreme court which had reinstated the parliament and set aside decision of President for second time in the span of five months on July 12. It had directed President to appoint Deuba as new Prime minister in place of Oli and summon the house by July 18 and ask new government to seek vote of confidence in Parliament within 30 days. SC had also over-ruled the validity of whip as it was being misused which has saved the membership of Madhav Nepal faction.

Oli's party is having strength of 121 and it was reduced to 83 during the current vote of confidence in the house which reflects his dwindling popularity in the organization. 28 MPs from his faction had abstained which was also in violation of Oli’s wish to vote against Deuba. Now, new government headed by Nepali Congress with two coalition partners viz Maoists centre of Prachanda and Samajbadi Party of Terai region bordering Bihar in India (Mehdeshis) will rule the country upto the completion of current tenure of parliament till 2023.

Experts say that Deuba had shown his commitment to preserve Indo-Nepal ties during his earlier four terms as PM of Himalaya Kingdom hence he will have smooth sailing in repairing the relations which had been brought to the lowest ebb by former prime minister, Oli during his three and half year term. Analysts believe that India must strategically support the new Deuba government which may like to create balance between two powers but refrain from being seen as a committed ally of China which has been inciting Oli against our country.

(K.S.Tomar is political analyst and national columnist)

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