(This is part-3 of an article on India Nepal relations. Part-1 and Part 2 were published on May 24 and  26 respectively.)

In Nepal, despite apparent unanimity, the new map adopted and announced got stuck up as a Constitutional Amendment was needed, which required two-thirds majority.

Two parties, Nepali Congress and a Madhesi-based new party created some obstacles, though they earlier agreed with the Govt., Indian media reported gleefully.

“Nepal map runs into Parliament wall”, Times of India headlined on May 28. It is really instructive to see how the Big Brother arm-twists Nepal. After all, it had choked Nepal into submission earlier. And indulged in regime change too. This is the way Modi-led India works  for a New World Order.

Even as Nepal pressed for talks, promised by India, on the dispute, “it is important first for Nepal to create an environment of trust…for dialog”, India indicated, Times of India reported on May 29:

“Nepal govt hasn’t been able to table the Bill in parliament yet. India said it had noted that this matter was receiving careful consideration in Nepal.”

In fact, India has been building this wall, by arm-twisting and  grossly manipulating Nepal’s politics. And the following report is two weeks old. India also feared a communist Nepal coming to stay, despite all its flaws. It was upset by Nepal joining  BRI,    losing its lever to arm-twist Nepal through blockades.

Nepal has been a hard nut to crack for India. Surviving India’s pressures,while  a new New Constitution was in the works, a new  Nepal polity was struggling to emerge.

With China’s help in building big infrastructure projects,mainly roads and a railway, BRI and more, it could come out of the curse of a small land-locked country, and is becoming a land-linked neighbour of China, as Xi Jinping called it. In April 2019, a New Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network was initiated.

Nepal pushes to end dependency on India with China rail, tunnel  deals, reported Reuters last October 13. In fact, it all began in 2018 itself.

So it activated its own agencies, and manipulative  politics. India was reportedly “concerned”  by efforts in Nepal to patch up differences between various communist factions. And it was worried that China and CPC  helped in the process.

See this less noticed (because of Covid-19 news flood),  but significant report of TOI  May 5, 2020in that context:

Official and political sources in India say they have been following the events in the Himalayan state with concern, as allegations of China micro-managing Nepal’s normally fractious politics abound. But the government does not want to make this a public battle for influence in Nepal for two reasons, largely because all the players of the current political drama have separately reached out to the Indian system, and that India reckons China will be the worse for wear getting in the mud of the never-ending chaos of Nepali domestic politics…

India’s interests remain in the formation of a stronger democratic political front, which should ideally be helmed by the Nepali Congress…the NC is sort of hobbled at the moment when they could have gained at the Communists’ expense.

But in the interim, two political parties with a strong presence in the Madhes joined hands — Samajbadi Party and Rashtriya Janata Party, third and fourth largest parties in Parliament merged to form the Janata Samajbadi Party, with Baburam Bhattarai as a potential leader. (see more about these below)

In a sense, it shows a coming together of democratic political forces outside the NC.

The Madhes-strong party would have a more positive approach to India.

And, it could be the glue for other democratic parties to form a credible opposition to the NCP in future.

 As a matter of fact, it was this merger that heaped criticism on Oli and made his position tenuous.

All this was going on in tandem with US moves to wean away Nepal from China, by carrot and stick policies:

Between Covid pandemic and the US pushing its Millennium Cooperation programme in Nepal, even BRI is coming under pressure.

The real politik indulged in by India and US needs to be understood from past efforts.

Ex-JNU leftist, Maoist leader,  Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has been among communist leaders cultivated by India, even BJP-led India, both before and after he became the PM of Nepal. Prachanda was no exception. RAW has been handling them both. And India and its RAW all the time promoted  splits and factionalism in the communist and Maoist camps, as exposed by specific events.

The ex-PM  Bhattarai had left Nepali Maoist party in 2015 September , along with his Maoist wife Hisila yami, also ex-JNU. He took several turns like India’s parliamentary leaders.

He had headed a new Samajbadi Partty Nepal (SPN), third largest party after NC and NCP. SPN was formed in May 2019, by merger of Federal Socialist Forum led by ex-Dy PM Upendra Yadav (for long cultivated by India and used during the constitutional process in Nepal) and Naya Shakti Paty led by Baburam Bhattaraiwith democratic socialism and ethnic federalism as its basis. It was dissolved on Apr 23, 2020, merged with Rashtriya janata party (formed on April21, 2017 , by merger of 4-5 Terai and Madhesi parties) to evolve into Janata Samajbadi Party. It has 17/275 seats, with election symbol of a palm, like that of Congress party.  (Wikipedia has more details of these twists and turns.)

These intriguing developments were laid between the lines of the above criptic TOI report: India’s interests remain in the formation of a stronger democratic political front, which should ideally be helmed by the Nepali Congress.

India sees ex-Maoist Baburam Bhattarai as a potential leader of an anti-communist front that is pro-India.  And, it could be the glue for other democratic parties to form a credible opposition to the NCP in future. Pro-India, Madhesi leader Upendra Yadav is the co-Chairman along with Bhattarai for the new party of  late April 2020.

Nepal govt. has been pressing for talks since last November, even while  protesting  the new map issued by India post-Kashmir developments of 2019 August. Modi’s India did not oblige. Instead it has been busy manipulating and orchestrating parliamentary politics of Nepal.

It was these “democratic”  parties that created an obstacle for the new map of Nepal, even after agreeing to it!

That was how “Nepal map runs into Parliament wall”. And India tells Nepal it must create trust first before any dialog.

 Ramakrishnan is a journalist


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