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India ‘takes step back’ amid Nepal turmoil, believes onus on Kathmandu to protect constitution

With no party or coalition having a majority, Nepal parliament has been dissolved twice since December and the country now faces fresh elections later this year.

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New Delhi: India is “keen” to see Nepal protect its Constitution, but believes it is Kathmandu that has to ultimately take a call on “firming up its process” in order to bring stability in the country, sources have said. 

Nepal has been caught in political turmoil for the last couple of years, even as it battles the Covid pandemic. With no party or coalition having a majority, the parliament has been dissolved twice since December and the country now faces fresh elections later this year.

According to sources, this is the first time that a situation of political instability in Nepal has not been “linked” with India’s “interference” into their domestic political matters.

As things continue to deteriorate in Nepal, with Prime Minister K.P. Oli being accused of bending constitutional provisions to form a government, India believes it is best to “step back” a bit and wait for the situation to unfold.

Sources said it is Nepal that has to “own up and protect” its Constitution from being “trampled on”, adding that New Delhi is fully aware of the fact that “what happens in Nepal effects India also”.

On Wednesday, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement that India has “taken note of the recent political developments in Nepal”. 

“We view these as internal matters of Nepal to be dealt by them under their own domestic framework and democratic processes,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

“As a neighbour and friend, India remains unwavering in its support for Nepal and its people on their journey toward progress, peace, stability and development.”

Also Read: As Nepal PM Oli mangles constitution & woos Modi, India changes track again, watches silently

Turmoil in Nepal

The latest chapter of turmoil in the Himalayan nation began last week when Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved parliament for the second time since December. This decision came after the caretaker government run by Prime Minister Oli failed to get the requisite numbers.

The opposition party Nepali Congress had also laid claim to form the government under its leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, but failed to secure the numbers earlier this month. Following this, Oli, who had lost a trust vote three days before, was once again appointed PM on 13 May as the leader of the largest party in the House of Representatives.

Opposition parties and critics have complained that Oli and his aides have violated the constitution, especially Article 76, which deals with the process of government formation.

Fresh elections in the country are now scheduled for November. 

In December, the Nepalese parliament was dissolved amid an ongoing power tussle in the ruling Nepal Communist Party following differences between Oli and former PM Pushpa Kumar Dahal “Prachanda”.

At the time, the matter went to the Supreme Court, which called the move unconstitutional in February this year.

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)

Also Read: Mocking Indian emblem, redrawing Nepal map, KP Oli’s adventures are growing


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