by Dinesh Gautam
Recently, Nepal adopted its seventh Constitution in 67 years. This exercise of forming the Constitution took two Constituent Assemblies, seven years of time and 150 billion from Nepali exchequers. Out of a total of 610 representatives of the Assembly, 85 per cent voted in its favour.
However, 60 representatives belonging to Nepali tribal population or Madhesis rejected the process. They had issues with the seven states coming to life after the Constitution is adopted. Earlier, there was a proposal of forming 14 states as against the current seven.
Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav, repeatedly, asked three main parties of the nation, namely, Nepali Congress Party, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), and Unified Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist, to not to overlook the concerns of the Madhesi leaders on the issue of formation of states. But, his words were not given any attention. The happiness for adopting the Constitution was missing from the face of the President when it was being announced.
India’s hand in bringing the Nepali Maoists to the mainstream, in 2006, under the 14-point agreement can’t be ignored. Another fact is that India is Nepal’s second largest neighbour that it shares a long and open international border with.
This is the reason why Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to Nepali Parliament, requested them to include the concerns of all sections of the society. In the same regard, to reiterate India’s stand, Indian Foreign Secretary S Jayshankar met with Nepali PM and the President before the announcement of the new Constitution.
It was a reason for astonishment when leaders like Koirala, Prachand or KP Oli didn’t care for India’s concerns on the matter. The result came in the form of Constitution– opposing violent rebellions that took the lives of 43. How many breaths could this seventh constitution take is a question with little answers!
For a peace-loving and helping neighbour like India, this is a cause of concern. India’s low-spirited stance was evident from the statement: “We are looking at the process of Nepal’s adoption of its Constitution. India’s absence from the celebrations in Nepal as well as no functions at the Nepali Embassy, said more about the low key response from the neighbours in this regard.
Apparently, there are several challenges in front of Nepal, and India’s challenge is to help Nepal by being in its diplomatic limits.
The author is the Deputy Editor/Senior Anchor with Sahara Samay.