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Constitution of Nepal: How long will it last?

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credit: www.constitutionnet.org

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.

credit: www.sausociology.wordpress.com
credit: www.sausociology.wordpress.com

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.

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India, Nepal Review New Developments in Ties

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning more towards China than India

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Sushma Swaraj, External affairs minister of India. Wikimedia

Recent developments in India-Nepal ties across various sectors came up for discussion during a meeting between External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Nepalese Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Thursday.

“The two ministers reviewed recent developments in bilateral ties across diverse sectors, including progress achieved on the three transformative initiatives launched in 2018 in the areas of agriculture, railways and inland waterways as well as pace of implementation of ongoing bilateral development and connectivity projects,”the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

“They expressed satisfaction at the significant progress made in different sectors of cooperation as a result of intensified bilateral exchanges at all levels in recent months,” it said.

According to the statement, the two leaders reiterated their commitment to maintain the new momentum and to further strengthen the traditionally close and friendly ties between the two countries.

India Pak relations
India, Nepal review new developments in ties.

India reset its ties with Nepal last year through a visit by Prime Minister Modi, his first after K.P. Sharma Oli became the Prime Minister.

During the visit, both sides agreed to boost trade and economic links, connectivity via air, land and water, people-to-people ties, with Modi declaring that India will work like a sherpa in the Himalayan nation’s development endeavours.

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This happened after there was a chill in India-Nepal ties during Oli’s earlier stint between October 2015 and August 2016 when a border blockade blamed on New Delhi crippled Nepal’s economy.

There were also perceptions that Oli was leaning more towards China than India. (IANS)