Deuba seeks India’s backing for party chairmanship

NFA (KATHMANDU, 17 October 2021) – Sher Bahadur Deuba, the Prime Minister of Nepal, has assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that he will not jeopardize India’s interests in Nepal. This was exposed by some Indian media, which reported on former Minister and close aide of Deuba, Prakash Sharan Mahat’s recent travel to India.

Deuba’s main priority when he became Prime Minister, which was an unprecedented scenario given the composition of the Nepali House of Representatives, was likely to be to reassure India. The three-member Mahat delegation’s visit was a follow-up to India’s senior leader and Chief of the ruling BJP’s Foreign Department, Vijay Chauthaile’s visit to Nepal.

With the visit of the Mahat-led delegation, Prime Minister Deuba has reached out to the Indian side, according to Indian media.

According to the Hindu, “the substantial deliverables of the visit are not yet known,” but “the evolving political environment is expected to throw up major hurdles for Mr. Deuba, which he may find simpler to handle with India’s assistance.”

Mahat’s major purpose, according to reports, was to persuade Indian leaders of the significance of Deuba’s leadership in both the government and the party. New Delhi’s ruling party may have been perplexed by Deuba’s nomination for party chairman since Bimalendra Nidhi announced his candidacy.

However, Shashanka Koirala, the current general secretary of the Nepali Congress and the son of BP Koirala, Nepal’s first elected Prime Minister, is Deuba’s biggest opponent.

During Mr. Mahat’s visit to Delhi, when he met with External Affairs Minister Mr. Jaishankar and U.P. Chief Minister Adityanath, the shadow of the NC rivals descended on Delhi. Observers have pointed out that Mr. Nidhi, who maintains close ties with important leaders in the Indian government, was previously assigned the responsibility of engaging India from the NC. Mr. Mahat’s presence for the same purpose exposed the NC’s increasing fractures.

The true purpose of Mr. Mahat’s visit, according to NC sources, could have been to reassure the Modi government about Mr. Deuba’s pro-India sentiments in order to neutralize his challengers with support from New Delhi and Lucknow, which could influence some of the NC leaders whose votes matter in the convention.

The mounting internal challenge facing Mr. Deuba’s three-month government is noteworthy since the ruling parties’ advancements have determined the trajectory of politics in recent years. The Supreme Court ousted previous Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli after he went into overdrive when dealing with opponents inside the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).


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