PRESIDENT IN INDIA Doctor’s Dilemma

The private-turned official India visit of the first commoner head of state of Nepal has taken place at a critical political transition of the new republic<br>SUSHIL SHARMA

Feb. 7, 2011, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.:04 No.-16 Feb. 04, 2011 (Magh 21,2067)<BR>

It was supposed to be a purely private visit. A visit to medical colleges in Calcutta and Chandigarh where he studied. At their invitation.


A nostalgic Ram Baran Yadav had no hesitation in accepting the invite.


Decades after he graduated as a medical doctor, he had become the first president of the Republic of Nepal. 


And being a one-time active political leader he would, however, not mind if the opportunity of political interactions came along – in a country which retains a dominant influence in Nepal’s internal affairs.


Quick to gauge his mind, the South Block decided to give the visit an “official” status. “Friendly and goodwill” visit, to quote the Nepalese diplomats in a bid to be technically correct.


As of writing this, the President, accompanied by the host country’s ambassador Rakesh Sood, paid homage to Kali Mata in Calcutta and offered prayers for peace and stability back home.  


After a one-way communication with the Goddess Kali in the West Bengal capital he was due to have a two-way dialogue with the powers that be in the Union capital. On the same issues: peace and stability.


The official announcement has it that President Yadav will be meeting almost all ‘who’s who’ in Delhi’s power circuit.


From his counterpart, Pratibha Patil, to the prime minister Man Mohan Singh and the powerful chairperson of the governing UPA, Sonia Gandhi and from Delhi’s point man for Nepal, finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, to home, defense and foreign ministers and the opposition leaders. 


His meetings are taking place at a critical political transition of Nepal which faces the challenge of running against time to meet the deadline of a new constitution. A failure fraught with dangers of plunging the fragile peace process into a dangerous crisis that, some fear, could threaten the very survival of the 240-old modern Nepal.


The fear may have been exaggerated, but few doubt that Nepal is facing one of the severest crises in its history.


As the fallout of the crisis is certain to transcend the national boundaries, there are concerns in many capitals – Delhi being the most important one.


It is this concern that is believed to have prompted the South Block to explore all possibilities including the role of President Yadav to ensure that the events did not go beyond its control.


With the political parties too engaged in seemingly never-ending search for a new prime minister, it is obvious that the search for the alternatives have quietly begun behind the curtains.


After the failure of sixteen rounds in six months, the fresh process to elect a successor to the caretaker prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has, at long last, raised hopes of a breakthrough.


But given the deep mistrust of the national political actors many doubt that any breakthrough at this point of time will last long.


That will leave the country back to the square one. Just ahead of the new constitution-deadline.


Here again, there have been intense speculations of a possible presidential intervention as “the protector of the constitution”.


Will President Yadav oblige to the call and urge for such an intervention? Is he ready to become a willing partner? Or will he be just a reluctant traveler in the new journey?


Does he have the nerves to stand up and “rise to the occasion” should the situation demand so?


These are probably the questions the Delhi mandarins would want to get answers to, during president Yadav’s private-turned-official India visit.


For the first commoner head of state of Nepal, the answers would not be easy by any means. 


He will probably return with two minds. A physician, will he be able to live up to the task of a surgeon? It’s a doctor’s dilemma.

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