Why is ‘friend of India’ Deuba not staking claim to form government even after having full majority in Nepal?

After the general elections in Nepal, political crisis is going on for the last one month regarding the formation of the government. Despite becoming the single largest party by winning 89 seats, the Nepali Congress has not yet staked claim to form the government. The reason behind this is Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, former prime minister and head of the Maoist centre.

Since the constitution came into force in 2015, till now the Prime Minister has been changed 5 times in Nepal. In the recently held elections, the people of Nepal gave absolute majority to the coalition consisting of Congress and Maoist Centre, after which it was believed that the government would remain stable and work for 5 years. 

Which parties have influence in Nepal politics…
After the implementation of democracy, many political parties were formed in Nepal. Among them are Sher Bahadur Deuba’s Nepali Congress, KP Sharma Oli’s CPN (UML), Prachanda’s Maoist Centre, Madhav Nepal’s Unified Socialist and Upendra Yadav’s PSPN.

How are elections held in Nepal?
Nepal Assembly is called House of Representative. Out of 275 seats, direct elections are held for 165 seats, while 110 MPs are elected by local representatives. The Nepali Congress-led coalition has won both the elections this time. 

Then why the crisis continues, 3 reasons

1. Prachanda’s eyes on the Prime Minister’s chair- Former Prime Minister Prachanda, who is in alliance with the Nepali Congress, has staked claim on the Prime Minister’s chair. Prachanda says that he should get a chance to become the Prime Minister for the first two and a half years. Nepali Congress leaders are not ready for this. However, before the election, there was an agreement between the two parties to make the Prime Minister for two and a half years. 

2. The issue of participation in the government – The tussle is still going on regarding the participation in power in the coalition parties. The Unified Socialist Party has claimed the presidential chair and the Maoist center has claimed the vice-presidential post, which are not easy to resolve. 

3. Mobilization in Nepali Congress – Within the Nepali Congress, party leaders have mobilized against Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. Strong leaders Shekhar Koirala and Gagan Thapa together have demanded internal elections in the party. According to Nepal media, the mobilization of both has increased Deuba’s tension. 

Why worry for India, 3 points

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  • There was a dispute between India and Nepal in 2021 regarding Kalapani and Lipulekh Pass. At that time the pro-China Koli was the Prime Minister. Deuba became the prime minister after Oli lost power. Deuba is pro-India, so the controversy is still calm. 
  • There are many trade agreements between India and Nepal. If the government of Oli’s party is formed there because of Deuba, then difficulties may arise. Caught in the clutches of China, Oli can decide anything.
  • India is constantly vocal about the demand of the people of the border areas (Madhesh). Madhesh has not got many rights in Nepal. Deuba has talked about solving it. 
  • Who is Prachanda, how much impact on Nepal politics?

    Born in 1954 in Chitwan, Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s political beginning is from the Maoist movement. At the age of 18, Prachanda joined the Maoist movement and took command of Gorkha district. 

    Prachanda remained underground for about 12 years after the warrant was issued by the royal government of Nepal. In the late 1990s, Prachanda came out after an accord between the Maoists and the government. In 1992, Prachanda was made the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal.

    In 2008, Prachanda became the Prime Minister for the first time, however, he had to resign within 9 months. The main reason for this was the Madhesh movement. In 2016, Prachanda assumed the prime minister’s chair for the second time, but due to the ruckus regarding the constitution, he had to resign this time too.

    Prachanda’s party has a deep influence in the Terai areas of Nepal. Due to his strong hold in Bagmati and Karnali region, Prachanda comes into the role of kingmaker after every election. 

    Once close to China, now with India
    From the time of the Maoist movement, Prachanda was deeply influenced by the Chinese leader Mao Zedong. When democracy came in Nepal, Prachanda became close to the Chinese government. However, despite being close to China, he could not get power in Nepal for long. 

    In 2021, when there was a dispute between India and Nepal due to the then Prime Minister KP Oli, Prachanda announced to withdraw support. At that time, the Chinese ambassador to Nepal was very active in persuading Prachanda, but Prachanda supported Deuba. 

    Oli may stake claim at Wait & Watch
    After leaving power in 2021, KP Sharma Oli had entered the election field this time with full vigor. His party got 78 seats in the elections. Also, their alliance partner PSPN has won 12 seats. In such a situation, if things do not work out between Deuba and Prachanda, then Oli can also claim to form the government. 

    Who will form the government, China also has an eye
    Both India and China are keeping an eye on who will form the government in Nepal. In 2017, China signed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) agreement with Nepal. Under this agreement, road and rail line are to be constructed from Lhasa to Kathmandu in Tibet. China said in a statement in 2021 that the project could not be completed due to political instability in Nepal. 

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