Deuba’s success in getting vote of confidence in Nepal is a good omen for India

by K.S. Tomar
The defections from former prime minister, Kharag Prasad 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 indicates that it is a good omen for
India and a big setback to China as Oli had damaged age-old ties
between Nepal and India that too at the behest of Beijing.
The new  Prime minister secured 165 votes as against the 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. 23 MPs from Madhav Nepal faction of Ex PM Oli’s CPN(UML) party also voted in favor of Deuba against the diktat of their leader.
The 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 a 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 the new government headed by Nepali Congress with two
coalition partners viz Maoists Centre of Prachanda and Samajbadi Party
the Terai region bordering Bihar in India (Mhdeshis) will rule the
country up to the completion of the 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 Himalayan
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.

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 cannot ignore China which has already
started big investment in Nepal and premier Xi 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 the standard
of living of Nepalis during his maiden visit.

Deuba will face one of the biggest challenges of controlling the
current monstrous dimension of Covid cases and the government has got
no stock of vaccines, thereby leaving the infected people to die.
The Supreme Court has also ruled for introduction of the budget for
the next fiscal year 2021-22, hence the 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 democracy in the
Himalayan Kingdom. Oli had created controversies like redrawing the
map and showed Indian territories in Nepal besides vehemently opposing
the construction of road to Mansarovar by India.

Notwithstanding the commitment to follow the principle of Machiavelli
to achieve the end without bothering about means, Nepal prime minister
failed to stick to power and his anti India three year era came to
unceremonious end on July 12. As per historical fact, Nepali Congress
has got a close affinity with India, hence the departure of Oli is a good
omen which will make it easy to have people to people contact and
close coordination between two nations in future.

Oli critics alleged that the Chinese ambassador to Nepal was working like
an extension of the PMO of Nepal and lobbying day and night to save
communist government. China had even made last ditch efforts last year
and sent defence minister to lobby with Nepal Communist Party (CPN)
factions to unite but in vain as its stakes were very high to needle
India through Oli.
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 a political analyst and national columnist based in Delhi.

Image courtesy of (Photo courtesy Kathmandu Post)

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