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Delhi dazed by Prez-PM standoff

NEW DELHI, NOV 25 - India appears to be in a state of ‘befuddlement’ on how to deal with the new political developments in Kathmandu, as President Ram Baran Yadav and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai lock horns over the former’s move to give parties a deadline to come up with a consensus PM candidate.

Though there is no official word from the Indian authorities yet, New Delhi looks concerned with a string of unanswered political possibilities in Nepal. The major worry apparently is the possibility of the parties not being able to form a unity government. “What will happen if political parties fail to forge consensus within the stipulated time?” retired Major General of Indian Army Ashok Mehta quoted Indian officials’ concerns.

“In case of a failure to build consensus, how will the President call for a majority government when there is no parliament and even if he does that, on what basis will the majority coalition be decided?” he questioned.

However, a ruling party leader argued that being the ‘only constitutional body’ in the current state of affairs, the President should roll up his sleeves, “while making sure that he does not cross his constitutional limits. Everyone should be careful enough not to create a confrontation between the President and the PM,” said the leader. A section in the Indian political spectrum is of the view that New Delhi should help find consensus among the major political forces in Nepal.

DP Tripathi, General Secretary of the ruling Nationalist Party and Chairman of the Nepal Democracy Solidarity Committee, is meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Salman Khursid on Monday to discuss the current political imbroglio in Nepal.

He is expected to urge the Indian PM to nudge Nepali actors for consensus.  Another leader KC Tyagi, Principal General Secretary of the Janata Dal (United), however, cautioned against direct involvement in Nepal’s domestic affairs. “India, having a close relationship with Nepal, could encourage Nepali political parties for consensus, but it should be very sensitive that there is no interference in (Nepal’s) domestic matters,” he said. Former Indian ambassador to Nepal Shivshankar Mukherjee also stressed on the urgency of consensus among the four major political players—UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN UML and Madhesi Morcha.

Posted on: 2012-11-26 08:48

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