Nepal

New Nepal President: Indian choice to prevail finally

by N. P. Upadhyaya (Aryal)

Biratnagar: It has rightly been said by commentators that “if India is your next door neighbour, then you don’t need to invite enemy from abroad”.

The words of wisdom has begun circulating in Kathmandu’s political circuit with the forceful arrival of the Indian Viceroy, Foreign Secretary Binaya Mohan Quatra” to Kathmandu last week.

Hardly had he stayed two days in Nepal, however, he accomplished tasks that were of India’s prime interests.

The senior clerk from India met with all the key players in Nepal in his short stay.

He behaved as if he were the Nepal King sent from India.

He has direct access even at Nepal’s President’s palace.

Even a tom-dick and harry from India is taken as “Almighty” in Nepal.

Conversely, Nepal Ambassador posted in Delhi even can’t meet the foreign ministry peon. Ask Ambassador Nilambar Acharya as to how he was treated in India?

This explains the Nepali status in India and yet RAW agents in Nepal eulogize India?

Shame on “India’s choukidars” as reiterated by Indian nationals.

And the interest being this time around was to find one Nepali Lendup Dorje who could assist India’s bid for Sikkimisation of Nepal sooner than later. The search is in speed as the time left for the Presidential election is approaching fast.

Indian activities though seemingly began right with the “special dictatorial meet” of an India funded media “Guru” with the Kathmandu RAW Chief, Mr. Raghav Bhatnagar as reported and authenticated by a vernacular weekly (Wednesdayer), but our own source claims that in the recent days and weeks, several Indian leaders (of third grade as well) and high ranking RAW men from Delhi have sneaked in Kathmandu and met those who were the “movers and shakers” of Nepali politics.

Some even claim that the RAW central Chief Mr. Samantha Kumar Goyal himself landed in Kathmandu some ten days ago and returned back to Delhi upon meeting and “instructing” the India nourished current Prime Minister P. K. Dahal.

For the RAW men, Nepal and its leaders were mere “loyal servants”.

Needless to say, PM Dahal is the same person who acted as Indian proxy during the India designed and funded Nepal’s Maoists War. He is yet India’s man, say high placed sources.

It was this senseless war waged by two Nepali nationals on their own motherland Nepal under the dictates of India which had long time back trained and indoctrinated these two “Nepali nationals” to work for India.

Back to the point:

Nepal is all set to have a new President for a five year term.

The competing powers in Kathmandu, for example, China, the US and India wish to install such a political man who could remain “over sympathetic” towards the country which has made strenuous efforts to install him or her.
However, chances remain fair that in the race in between the US, China and India, the Indian choice may finally emerge with flying colors.

India needs Nepali traitors who could act like Lendhup Dorje for “obvious reasons”.

India has to prevail in Nepal or else the RAW funding in billions will go in vain.

Every third man in Kathmandu’s political and media circuit works for India as he is “on salary”.

Or it could be that a name could be preferred both by India and the US who has strong commitment to the Indo-US lobby and its activities that are yet to be known to Nepali people.

Or it could be only a single name (in India’s dictated consensus) who could be declared as new Nepal President.
Why the US or for that matter China are in the race is not known, however, what is clear and well understood fact is that India wants a committed ‘Lendhup Dorje’ who could excel even the Sikkkimi traitor Dorje who in effect assisted Madame Indira Gandhi in facilitating the Indian republic to annex the independent and sovereign Sikkim in the mid seventies.

Thanks God, Nepal has traitors galore.

The secret arrival of the RAW Chief Mr. S.K Goyal and the Indian foreign secretary B. M. Quatra was for “dictating” the name(s) of the new Nepal President of Indian choice and preferences.

Most of the current Nepali leaders worship RAW Chief as a “deity”.

The names RAW and Indian FS forwarded as per Nepal’s social media, are Devendra Raj Pandey, Anuradha Koirala, Daman Nath Dhungana, and Professor Lok Raj Baral.

Needless to say, all the four good names were tentatively India’s committed men.

Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Mahanta Thakur, however, could be the best choice for India for obvious reasons?

Sitaula is the one who assisted India in deposing King Gyanendra.

Some even opine that these “four damaged diamonds” as forwarded by RAW have never remained true to mother Nepal but instead supported India when the latter encroached upon Nepali landmass here and there.

For them, “Mera Bharat Mahan” is the best “song”.

This speaks of it all as to how the upcoming President will serve India during his or her tenure if it is of Indian preferences and imposition.

Frankly speaking, India needs an thoroughly India bend man (close to Mera Bharat Mahan) with Nepali citizenship certificate in order to get through the “Citizenship Bill” that shall in all likelihood be tabled in the impending session.
When the Kings of Nepal denied the Citizenship bills, the institution itself was dismantled.

The idea is to overwhelm Nepal with Indian immigrants and capture Nepal.

And with the new President in Nepal, if and when of Indian choice, Sikkimisation of Nepal is guaranteed.
The new Nepal President shall preside over Sikkimisation Nepal”.

However, yet another name is floating in the Kathmandu’s political market and he is Madhav Kumar Nepal.

As the rumors go, Mr. Nepal’s daughter got a free MBBS scholarship from the Indian embassy. He was hand in glove with the Maoists insurgency and used to meet insurgents in Delhi under Delhi’s instructions.

KP Oli too has forwarded the name of his former UML colleague. This has “meaning” underneath.

Oli is talked to be excessively close to RAW boss, Mr. S. K. Goyal.

Mr. Nepal is also the one former UML leader who wished to invite Indian military men to “tame King Birendra” in the early 90s.

This event speaks of his love and honor for Nepal?

Fresh news says that Mr. Madhav Nepal could be a “consensus” candidate for Nepal President which means that RAW has already finalized Mr. Nepal as new Nepal President.

Critics of Mr. Nepal claim that Mr. Nepal was born in India and thinks of India only round the clock.

However, late Madan Bhandari objected to Mr. Nepal’s anti-national proposal but Mr. Nepal prefers yet to serve the country of his “choice”.

Likewise, senior Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel, who is also in the Presidential race too enjoyed the free MBBS scholarship from the Indian embassy for his daughter.

This was in the rumor then some two decades ago.

If Nepali Congress picks Poudel, then it should mean that he is Indian choice.

Thus whosoever from among these face are elevated as new Nepal President will for sure make it’s a point to primarily serve the Indian interests well as much as the sitting Indian Prime Minister Modi has commitment to serve India.

The goal is to Sikkimise Nepal.

The US has also its favorite and thus, as rumors say, the flurry of US key officials to Kathmandu which, as talked, was to make sure a political personality in Nepal who has a clear and distinct US curvature and expectedly work to enhance the US designed mega Project-the MCC ( Millennium Corporation).

The US too has increased its diplomatic activities in Nepal of late which is being contested by some media men belonging to the Indian coterie.

Yet another Indian funded Daily also in the recent days questioned the very intent of the arrivals of the US officials in Kathmandu.

A high placed source says that the US has of late tried its best to influence Nepali politics with the ‘purposeful’ visit first by Victoria Nuland, Samantha Power and in the recent days Afreen Akhtar.

All these three lady US personnel reportedly landed in Kathmandu to “drum up support” for the person of their liking for the Nepal President Post.

Jutta Urpilainnen-the European Union Commissioner for International Partnership, Andrew Morrison from the United Kingdom and the just arrived German Parliamentary delegation in Kathmandu, all presumably have come here to add to the strength of the US choice for Nepal President.

Most interestingly, South Korea too is talked to be adding weight to the choice of the Western countries.

China too is in the race with its “defeated diplomacy” and its Kathmandu based envoy Chen Song too could be seen meeting Nepali key leaders to impress upon them in order to “guarantee” a Nepal President with a communist-curve.

Chen met PM Dahal, KP Oli and Maadhav Nepal so that a communist man occupies the Presidential Chair.
Chinese envoy even invited PM Dahal to attend to the BOAO conference in China.

This does tell that the US and the Western countries would ensure that a non-communist and a visible China hater political man for Nepal President as against China’s preference.

Thus the race is in between the US, EU and UK versus China.

Needless to say, of all in the race, the one who is to emerge with flying colors is “India” and its proxy as Nepal President for five years.

India needs an Indo-pendent Nepali national who ensures the Sikkimisation of Nepal.

The target set by India for the Sikkimisation of Nepal is by early 2030.

India wishes to catapult the Nepali demographic structure and ensure Sikkimisation of Nepal.

To recall, Indira Gandhi had calculated Nepal’s Sikkimisation to be completed by 2015. However, with her

coldhearted death in 1984 October, the RAW plans were presumably shifted.

What is more than stunning is that a bogus Indian Professor Sukha Deo Muni-a self proclaimed Nepal expert, too has floated four names presumably with the RAW instructions.

SD Muni’s choice equals to RAW choice.

The names are, as said earlier, Mr. Pandey, Dhungana, Mrs. Koirala and Professor L.R Baral.

Strong rumors say that Mrs. Koirala is an Indian national and she has acquired a fake Nepali citizenship certificate.
Their contributions to mother Nepal, if any in notice ever, is that they have never taken a firm stand as and when India pounces upon Nepal. It was perhaps this “favor” that elevated Professor Lok Raj Baral to get Ambassadorial post in Delhi long time back.

A Sri Lankan scholar talked about Ambassador Baral that “Professor Baral is so sweet that he keeps on saying that “India can do no wrong”.

India needs a devoted and loyal from Nepal who could act like a “horse” for India.

Whosoever gets the plum post, is India’s trusted man and conversely for Nepal and its people he is a new Lendhup Dorje a la Sikkim.

The imposition of economic blockades by India on Nepal is a moment for celebration for these India’s “beloved ones”.

These political men dubbed as pro-India elements instead say that “Nepal must not have teased India”.

Some even say that Nepal should ask apology.

No wonder the names forward by the Indian Foreign Secretary Quatra during his fresh Nepal visit tallies verbatim with the names suggested by the father of Nepal’s Maoists insurgency-Professor SD Muni.

Professor Muni keeps on intervening Nepali politics at regular intervals.

People in Nepal love to hate Professor Muni.

To recall, Professor Muni was the one who took the initiative for a secret meet of the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Bajpaye with the Delhi hiding Nepal Maoists leaders, Comrade Prachanda and Dr. B. R. Bhattarai.
PM Vajpayee was a declared “Nepal hater”.

Authentic reports have it that Nepal Maoists leaders while meeting the Indian Prime Minister Bajpaye gave word to the Indian PM that their “insurgency” will devastate Nepal and conversely pose no harm to the prime security interests of India.

Professor Muni arranged this exclusive meet with the Indian PM through Brajesh Mishra-the then National Security Advisor to Indian PM.

The security pact in between Nepal’s Maoists and the Indian government was reportedly signed on June 6, 2002.
The fresh visit of Indian Foreign Secretary Quatra was, as is being interpreted, to remind the Nepal Maoists leaders to “act upon” what they had assured and promised to the Indian government while being in India and under that too Indian government’s protection.

What the Nepal Maoists leaders’ have had committed to the Indian government then is not known but could be anybody’s guess.

Concluding remarks:

When the Nepali State is weak, India pounces upon Nepal from all possible quarters.

Needless to say, whosoever is new Nepal’s President, he will be an India recognized, trained and submissive man ready to work for the “preservation” of the Indian interests in Nepal round the clock.

China has now reasons to lament and repent for having assisted the Indian regime in dismantling the Nepali monarchy in the year 2006-8.

China is alone in Kathmandu. In fact China is not a reliable partner of Nepal. With the Nepali monarchy gone, China has lost its recognized and trusted friend in Nepal. China must feel the “pain”.

Nepal is at the moment so weak that even a redundant and repulsive Indian Professor floats and dictates some names to be appointed as new Nepal President.

And the tragedy is that “the Face book nationalists” of Nepal are deriding the Professor who just wanted to have an India friendly Nepal President. Frankly speaking Professor Muni is not at fault. He is serving his mother India. Indian nationals are “nationalist”.

That’s all.

Courtesy: © 2023 Telegraph Nepal

Why Nepal Denied Entry to CIA Chief?

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In a rare move, the Nepal government last week withheld permission for a visit to the country by CIA Director William J Burns, ostensibly on the grounds that the timing of the trip was “not so conducive”.

It is learnt Burns returned home from Sri Lanka, the first leg of his South Asia trip, after the Nepal government conveyed to the US Embassy in Kathmandu that given the political developments, including the impending Presidential election, permission for the visit was being withheld.

The decision was conveyed after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda informally consulted some senior Cabinet colleagues including Deputy Prime Ministers and senior bureaucrats from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

According to information provided to the Nepal government, Burns was to fly from Sri Lanka in a special C-17 Globemaster III along with several officials on February 15 for an 18-hour stay in Kathmandu.

Another two aircraft with some vehicles and “unspecified equipment” meant for the US Embassy were also being brought – this, it is learnt, was notified to the host government.

Visits by top officials of external intelligence agencies, mainly from neighbours India and China, formally or informally, are not very uncommon.

In October 2020, Samant Goel, chief of India’s R&AW, met K P Oli, the then Prime Minister. Details of the discussion were never made public. Oli’s opponents still use that meeting as a political stick to target him.

A senior minister, among those consulted by Prachanda on the proposed trip by the CIA chief, said a visit at such short notice would create a dangerous precedent, and the Prime Minister decided to go “along with our view”.

But some like Keshav Prasad Bhattarai, an expert on security matters and international affairs, think that blocking Burns may prove to be a “blunder”.

High-level visits from the US are now routine but have caused heartburns in China which fears that enhanced US activities in Nepal are part of a destabilisation strategy targeting Beijing.

China openly opposed Nepal Parliament’s ratification of the Millenium Challenge Corporation Compact, a $500-million grant from the US, in February last year. The US also wants Nepal to play a larger role in Indo-Pacific strategy.

Last week, Prime Minister Prachanda said Nepal ratified the MCC since it was a developmental project, and “we did not allow them to come with weapons”.

© The Indian Express (P) Ltd

Nepal: Prachanda’s art of Govt formation

Never before in the history of Nepali politics has a convicted politician been visited in Kathmandu’s jail by a parade of luminaries like former Prime Minister Madhav Nepal, Nepali Congress stalwart Arzu Rana (wife of former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba), emissaries of Prime Minister Prachanda and many others. Resham Chaudhary of the Nagarik Unmukti Party is in jail for life for inciting fellow Tharus in the killing of seven policemen in 2015 at Tikapur (No 7 province). To obtain his party’s support (three seats) now run by his wife and father, leaders have promised to get his release by ordinance. Everyone knows that will not happen. But such was the desperation of the two primary coalitions led by NC and CPN(UML) and Prachanda especially to add weight to his 32 seats in order to cobble together 138 seats to form the government.

Never before has a single biggest NC- Deuba-led coalition that included Prachanda snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Clearly, Deuba underestimated the awesome Prachanda who undauntingly led the revolution against the state and monarchy. An ambitious Deuba (89 seats) wishing to be Prime Minister a sixth time (astrologers have predicted he will be PM seven times), refused to yield the first premiership to Prachanda with just 32 seats in a power-sharing agreement that has become the new normal in Nepal. The doubtful locus standi of such agreements and their non-implementation have led to bad blood and revolt. Prachanda, who had done his math and sent adequate signals to Deuba, immediately walked out of Baluwatar to Balakot to join the CPN(UML) alliance of former Prime Minister KP Oli, turning the tables on Deuba. Prachanda’s Plan B has caused a revolt in NC against Deuba for failing to preempt it.

Fire-fighting operations led by Rana (Deuba had no real Plan B) included breaking the Oli—led alliance that included Rajendra Lingden, RPP (14), Upendra Yadav, Janata Samajwadi Party Nepal (12), Rabi Lamichhane RSP (21), Resham Chaudhary Nagarik Unmukti Party (3), CK Raut Janmat Party (5) and several independents claiming 166 seats. It was this grand coalition that Rana attempted to fracture after Prachanda and six ministers had been sworn in on 26 December. In a last-ditch attempt on the week-end before Prachanda’s vote of confidence Tuesday (10 Jan) NC offered one year each as Prime Minister to Lingden and the suspended in-animation CPN (United Socialists) of Madhav Nepal (10 seats). NC made a similar offer to Lamichhane who said he was already deputy prime minister and home minister. An offer was made to Yadav (JSP-N) of Deputy prime minister and home minister and election to the House within six months. When Lingden refused the offer after Oli’s intervention the operation was aborted as arithmetic to disrupt the confidence vote did not work out. Otherwise, as leader of the single largest party, Deuba could have been invited by President Bidya Debi Bhandari to form the government.

The RPP and JSP(N) agreed to support the vote of confidence last Saturday after the Common Minimum Programme prepared by Prachanda was handed over to a high-level political mechanism led by Oli. It was not easy for Prachanda to accommodate the political demands and ambitions of a coalition as bizarre as the one that won the vote of confidence. Third-time Prime Minister Prachanda is no novice in successfully managing contradictions, He learned the tricks on the job as Prime Minister.

President Bhandari’s term expires in March. CPN (UML ) will take the posts of President and Speaker. The name of former Speaker Subhash Nembang is doing the rounds for President though there is a minor domestic glitch. Had Madhav Nepal joined the Oli coalition it would have been a homecoming – like Prachanda’s return – and a possible shot at the presidency. The agreement has also been reached within the winning coalition of government formation in the provinces. Of the seven provinces, ( CPN UML) has bagged four chief ministers in provinces 1, 4, 5, and 7. In Number 7 province no government can be formed without the redoubtable Resham Chaudhary, Maoists will form government in No 3 and No 6 provinces. Ironically, in the No 3 province, no govt formation is possible without RPP. Anti-monarchists will cohabit with staunch supporters of Panch Sarkar, In no 2 provinces, only Madhes Pradesh, JSP (N), and Janmat Party will share chief ministership.

Making the best of a bad job NC Alliance with India’s prodding supported Prachanda in yesterday’s trust vote in unity and also magnanimity in adversity by the party with the largest mandate of the people. They will sit in the opposition with undecided Mr. Nepal and another dwindling Madheshi party, Loktantrik Samajwadi, led by the aging Mahanta Thakur (4 seats). Having missed power by a whisker, NC can claim it has stuck to democratic polity and principles and not chased power. Within sections of NC, the view is different. As for Prachanda, his third innings is fraught with the unknown. But at least for the next year, a vote of no confidence is inadmissible in Parliament. But the threat to Prachanda is from within.

Maoists: Back at the Helm

In a dramatic, though expected, development in Nepal’s politics, on December 26, 2022, Maoist veteran Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda took the oath as Prime Minister of Nepal for the third time. He had earlier served as Prime Minister in 2008-2009 and 2016- 2017.

On November 20, 2022, elections for 165 seats of the House of Representatives (HoR) were held under the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system in a single phase. In accordance with the constitutional arrangement, 110 seats are allocated under the Proportional Representation (PR) system. There are a total of 275 seats in the HoR.

As per the final results submitted by the Election Commission to President Bidya Devi Bhandari, the then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba-led Nepali Congress (NC) emerged as the single largest party with 89 seats (57 FPTP+ 32 PR), followed by the K.P. Sharma Oli-led Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML), 78 seats (44 FPTP+ 34 PR); Prachanda-led Communist Party of Nepal – Maoist Centre (CPN-MC), 32 seats (18 FPTP+ 14 PR); Rashtriya Swatantra Party (RSP), 20 seats (7 FPTP+ 13 PR); Rashtriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), 14 seats (7 FPTP+ 7 PR); Janata Samajbadi Party, Nepal (JSP-N), 12 seats (7 FPTP+ 5 PR); Madhav Kumar Nepal-led Communist Party of Nepal – Unified Socialist (CPN-US), 10 FPTP seats; Janamat Party, six FPTP seats, Loktantrik Samajwadi Party-Nepal (LSP-N), four FPTP seats; Nagarik Unmukti Party, three FPTP seats; and Rashtriya Janmorcha and Nepal Mazdoor Kisan Party, one FPTP seat each. Independents secured five seats.

The then five party Joint Ruling Alliance (JRA) – NC, NCP-MC, CPN-US, LSP-N and Rashtriya Janmorcha – had contested the elections together. The then main opposition party, the CPN-UML had RPP and JSP-N as alliance partners. Though no single party or alliance emerged a clear-cut winner, the JRA could have formed the government, with the help of Independents, as the alliance was in striking distance with 136 seats, just two short of the 138 seats required.

However, the tussle between Prachanda and Deuba over the issue of who would lead the new government intensified. Reports indicate that, while a tacit understanding was reached between the two leaders to lead the government on a rotational basis, the NC in the morning of December 25, rejected Prachanda’s demand to be the Prime Minister in the first half of the term. Later in the day, Prachanda went to meet his friend-turned-rival-turned-friend, another Maoist veteran, Oli, and brokered a deal to form a new government on rotational basis, with Prachanda becoming the Prime Minister first. Prachanda then exited the JRA. On the same day, along with Oli and other new alliance partners, Prachanda went to President Bidya Devi Bhandari, to stake his claim, and was appointed Prime Minister. The had President set December 25, 2022, as the deadline to stake the claim.

Prachanda has the support of 165 lawmakers, including CPN-UML with 78, CPN-MC with 32, RSP with 20, RPP with 14, JSP-N with 12, Janamat Party with six and Nagarik Unmukti Party with three. The President has given him a month’s time to prove his majority in the house.

On November 20, elections for seven Provincial Assemblies were also held. Government formation at the provincial level is still under process. However, the new alliance is expected to form governments in all seven provinces.

It is useful to recall here that, after the previous HoR elections in 2017, the pre-poll Left alliance, including CPN-UML and CPN-MC, had emerged victorious and formed the government. The two parties later merged and formed the Nepal Communist Party. However, the bonhomie between Prachanda and Oli did not last long and the two parted ways. A demerger took place in March 2021, after which Prachanda supported Deuba to become Prime Minister, leaving Oli rudderless. Now it is time for Deuba to be cast away.

Meanwhile, the country remains free of terrorism. The last terror-linked fatality was reported on December 8, 2020, when a teacher was shot dead in the Miklajung Rural Municipality in Morang District of Province No. 1. The teacher, identified as Rajendra Shrestha, was killed by Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist-Chand) cadres. There were 13 fatalities in 2019 (three civilians, two Security Force personnel and eight extremists), all linked to CPN-Maoist-Chand. Violence had surged in 2019 after a lull of almost six years, between 2013 and 2018, during which Nepal recorded just two fatalities (both civilians, in 2013). After facing immense pressure from the Security Forces, the CPN-Maoist-Chand reached a three-point agreement with the Government on March 4, 2021. The agreement stated, inter alia:

  • the CPN-Maoist-Chand will seek to address all its political issues through dialogue,
  • the CPN-Maoist-Chand will carry out all its political activities in a peaceful manner, and
  • the Nepal Government will lift the ban it had imposed on the party’s activities, free all cadres from jail and withdraw court cases against them

No other Maoist insurgent group is violently active. The insurgent groups in Terai have also become dormant.

Concerns, however, persist. The Chand group has constantly been accusing the Government of not implementing the 3-point agreement in toto, as its cadres are still in jail. In a demonstration of its grievances, the Chand group boycotted the recent elections, with its spokesperson Khadga Bahadur Bishwokarma warning,

Our party has decided to totally disregard the November 20 federal and provincial polls to be conducted by the capitalist government. We have decided to give an appropriate response if the state suppresses our party’s publicity programmes.
The party cadres have subsequently been found to be involved in several incidents of explosion.

Inputs, however, indicate that Pakistan-backed Islamist fundamentalist groups have increased their activities in the country, particularly along the India-Nepal border.

Even though the Maoists are back at the helm again, political stability remains at risk. While the old rivalry and distrust between Prachanda and Oli could flare up again at any time, the tussle between new alliance partners cannot be ruled out, given the deep ideological divides. Thus, while the CPN-UML and CPN-MC are Leftist parties, the RPP is a right-wing monarchist group. It is to be noted that the longevity of the JRA was always under threat as it was an opportunistic alliance between NC and Maoists who were bitter rivals during the Nepali civil war, and remained so for much of the time after.

The insurgency is very much in the past in Nepal, but political instability and friction, at least occasionally spilling over into violence, is an ongoing reality. As with much of South Asia, there is little assurance that this will not escalate at any point into wider disorders, with dormant insurgent formations once again finding the opportunity to reassert themselves. The political classes have demonstrated little maturity in their scramble for power, with at least some elements only recently and provisionally distancing themselves from the option of armed insurrection. Crucially, however, the election process appears have to taken hold on both the people and the leadership, with the second successful national election passing quite peacefully, giving some hope that Nepal’s fractious will not translate into armed violence in the foreseeable future.

Nepal’s very own ‘Game of Throwns’

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The second multiparty elections in Nepal on 20 November after the new constitution 2015 have been unique. For the first time, the simultaneous federal and provincial elections were contested as pre-poll alliances with several independent parties, candidates and rebels participating. It is not simple casting four ballot slips in a mixed electoral system (first past the post and proportional representation) that does not throw up a clear majority unless various factions and parties unite to form coalitions. In 2017, Communist parties merged as Nepal Communist Party and swept the elections. This time, no single party dared to fight independently.

This election bucked the trend of local elections in 2017 when Communists took Kathmandu’s Parliament as well as six or seven provinces. This time, results are scattered due to the meteoric rise of independent parties like Rashtra Swatantra Party; and Janmat and Nagarik Unmukti parties in Madhes, decimating traditional Madhesi parties. Power equations have changed significantly and neither major coalition – Nepali Congress led by Prime Minister SB Deuba and CPN (UML) led by former Prime Minister KP Oli has managed to reach the 138 majority mark. Deuba’s coalition consists of former PM Prachanda’s Maoists, former PM Madhav Nepal’s Unified Socialists, Mahanta Thakur’s Loktantrik Janata Samajwadi Party and Chitrabahadur KC’s Rashtriya Jan Morcha. Upendra Yadav’s Janata Samajwadi Party, the original constituent of NC coalition jumped ship and joined UML coalition and was replaced by Thakur Saab. Unsurprisingly, CPN (UML) won the highest votes – 28,45,641 – giving it 34 additional PR seats. NC was close behind with 27,15,225 votes and 32 PR seats.

The Game of Thrones started a week ago, to guess which coalition President Bidya Debi Bhandari will invite to prove majority on the floor. Prachanda is deeply embarrassed by Maoist’s poor showing with just 32 seats when he expected at least 45. Similarly, NC, as the single largest party, won 57 plus 32 (89) seats. Its strike rate was 57 of 91 seats it contested. CPN UML which fought 141 of 165 seats won just 44 plus 34 PR (78 seats). The UML coalition has reached 104 against NC’s 136 seats. It is Prachanda’s Maoists which as third largest party, have progressively declined from 329 to 83 to 51 and now 32 seats in elections since 2008. According to a pre-poll understanding, if Prachanda was to fetch 44 and more seats, NC and Maoists would share power with Prachanda holding the reins for the first two and a half years and later handing over to Mrs Deuba- Arzu Rana Deuba. She is known to have tied a rakhi this year to BJP’s Vijay Chauthaiwale, in charge of the party’s foreign affairs cell. Power-sharing stabilizes unwieldy coalitions they say.

In order to improve Prachanda’s bargaining power, Maoists are looking over their shoulder. Party Vice President KB Mahara last week announced that Maoists will “keep all options open” but next day the party reneged saying it will stick by the NC coalition and signed a press release of coalition partners sans Thakur Saab, to that effect. It seems Maoist well-wishers are campaigning for Prachanda’s premiership and working to increase the party’s flock by roping in Nagarik Unmukti Party led by Resham Choudhary who is in Kathmandu jail for the fifth year but his party brings along three seats plus one independent. In the foursome are Choudhary’s wife and father. Also pledged to join are Prabhu Shah, a former Maoist who joined Oli and an independent. The surprise star of Madhes, Dr CK Raut, who routed Upendra Yadav, met Deuba and Prachanda and will bring six seats. Onlinekhabar reported that Prachanda commands support of 60 legislators. Now, even Rabi Lamichhane (21 seats) has offered to support Deuba who will need to be discreet in selecting partners. The contenders for PM are many in NC- Deuba, dark horse Shekhar Koirala and gold star Gagan Thapa. Eventually, as always, experience will trump new blood with Deuba likely chosen by the NC parliamentary party as its leader for the sixth time.

Other options are afloat. First, Oli has offered his bête noir Prachanda a power-sharing deal. #no not again Mr Oli. All three years from 2018 to 2021, Oli and Prachanda fought bitterly over leadership and split the party. Oli has forgotten his clarion call: “Never let Prachanda become Prime Minister ”. That Oli will make Prachanda PM is make-believe. Overall it appears the NC coalition will cobble an inflated coalition struggling to form a stable government. The constitution cushions such a government with the provision of a two-year bar on no confidence motion. Nepali journalists asked me: who does India want as Prime Minister? My reply: the one whom the alliance will select. India will not micro-manage the selection of PM. The first decision the new PM will make is on Agniveer – one factor that lost BJP Himachal Pradesh last week.