POLITICS Balancing Act

The irony in Nepalese politics is that a person needs India’s good will&nbsp; to be a prime minister but he also needs to uphold a patriotic posture for his survival<br>KESHAB POUDEL

July 4, 2010, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol. 04 No. 03 July 2-2010 (Asadh-18, 2067)

In announcing his resignation as the prime minister, Madhav Kumar Nepal tried his best to show how he made efforts to protect the nation’s interests. In the half-an hour address to the nation broadcast live on television and radio, outgoing prime minister Nepal defended himself as a patriot par excellence.


Nepal’s response was mostly directed to UCPN-Maoist leader and former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, who frankly admitted that he lived in India 10 years out of 12 years of violent insurgency in Nepal, and he had no qualms to dub Nepal as a puppet of Prabhu (India).


Maoist supremo Prachanda has been harping on anti-Indian slogans and blaming India directly and indirectly for the fall of his government 13 months ago. Prachanda is yet to reconcile with harsh reality. “When we started to defend Nepal’s interest, our government was pulled down,” said Prachanda.


As Shelton Kodikara, a noted Sri Lankan author, writes the tenure of a Nepali prime minister who was persona non grata in New Delhi was likely to be short. But it was also true, conversely, that a prime minister who had alienated nationalist sentiments in Nepal stood little chance of politically surviving in office. What Kodikara writes in his book Strategic Factors in Interstate Relations in South Asia in 1984 seems to be true even today.

Former prime minister Prachanda used to receive a red carpet welcome in New Delhi when he suddenly felt that his rug was pulled out by his one time sympathizer because of his stand on Nepal’s interests. Despite being the weakest for all time as prime minister, Nepal finally resigned on June 30. Nobody knows whether Nepal’s resignation is a result of the pressure of public mood generated by Prachanda’s wrath dubbing Nepal as anti-nationalist or Nepal became persona non-grata in New Delhi.
Whether one likes it or not, as Kodikara said, the view from New Delhi is an important factor, even in the most crucial considerations of internal politics of Nepal. It is also true that Nepal cannot ignore northern neighbor China. In this irony, it is always difficult for any prime minister to survive in office for long. This is the most delicate balancing act every Nepalese prime minister needs to do along with showing the nationalist sentiment. Earlier, American scholar late Leo Rose wrote in his book that Nepal’s destiny is directed by two of its neighbors.




Although Nepal needed to resign in the pretext of late night agreement of May 28 among the three major political parties to extend the Constituent Assembly tenure by one year. Why he quit a month later is best left for speculations. Any serious analysis, however, should take into account the geostrategic factors into the daily flow of political events in Nepal.

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