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Koirala defeated, Nepal gets new PM

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Kathmandu: After defeating Nepali Congress leader Sushil Koirala in a keenly contested vote in parliament, Communist leader Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli was on Sunday elected the prime minister of Nepal. He became the first premier of the Himalayan nation after the September 20 promulgation of a federal constitution.

Notably, support from the main opposition Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist helped the CPN (Unified Marxist-Leninist) chairman to bag support of 338 lawmakers out of 587 voting in the 599-seat house.

63-year-old Oli, a chronic patient of kidney-related ailments, is known to be a hawkish politician, whose sharp-worded statements have made headlines in the media.

An earlier sharp critic of the Maoists, Oli joined hands with UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ to become the 38th prime minister of Nepal.

The key challenge for Oli now is addressing the demands of agitating Madhesh-based political parties and other groups over concerns related to the newly-promulgated constitution.

He also needs to carry out on war footing reconstruction and rehabilitation necessitated by the April 25 earthquake, restoring peace and tranquillity in the Nepal-India border area and working towards political stability.

Oli started his political career some 45 years back from Jhapa district in eastern Nepal. He represents Jhapa-7 constituency in the parliament.

He served many years in jail during the party-less Panchayat era in Nepal before 1990 when the king was head of state.

He has served as home and foreign minister in the past.

Oli is married but has no children. He has no formal education from a college or a university but speaks several languages.

The 63-year-old leader was elected chief of the CPN-UML in July 2014, defeating Madhav Kumar Nepal, another former prime minister.

He was chief of the UML’s international department before being elected to the top post in the party.

Oli had served as the deputy prime minister and minister for foreign affairs in the Girija Prasad Koirala-led interim government formed immediately after the 2006 People’s Movement.

In 1994, he was minister for home affairs in the cabinet led by then UML chairman Man Mohan Adhikari. He was elected a member of parliament thrice in 1991, 1994 and 1999 from various constituencies in Jhapa district.

(Anil Giri, IANS)

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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)