If China and India join hands, American influence in Nepal will decline

# Prem Sagar Poudel

China has first congratulated Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Chairman of CPN (Maoist Centre) on being appointed as Prime Minister. China has surpassed the tradition of congratulating from India. The Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu congratulated Dahal on becoming the Prime Minister of Nepal through a tweet.

Dahal was appointed Prime Minister on December 25 with the support of 6 parties including UML and independent MPs. After the election on November 20, China’s race for power was not seen much. India’s race started in the first phase. The US joined the race, following India. However, India has apparently won the race. The US, which appeared for the first time in Nepal’s micro-management, has faced strong hindrance at the very first step.

The American thought was to make Nepali Congress General Secretary Gagan Thapa the Prime Minister. In the parliamentary party of Nepali Congress, Thapa was stopped by party chairman and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. Deuba, who entered the process of government formation only after being elected as the leader of the parliamentary party, was afraid that he would be defeated as the leader of the parliamentary party. Therefore, in the parliamentary party elections, he assured many MPs of ministerial and lucrative positions.

Thapa’s defeat was America’s first blow. After that, the US started making Deuba the prime minister. It was led by the Prime Minister’s wife and central member of the Congress, Arzu Deuba. Arzu has been working for America for a long time. It was the American Embassy in Nepal that tied her to Deuba. Recently, it seems that America is thinking that by moving Gagan ahead of Deuba, it can increase its long-term intervention in Nepal’s politics.

America’s biggest weakness was not being able to convince Deuba to support Thapa. After being kicked out from within the party from the Prime Minister’s race, Thapa was left behind. As a result, only senior Congress leader Ram Chandra Paudel thought of maintaining an alliance with the Congress. Many leaders seem to have given their opinion that the Congress should not leave the post of Prime Minister. Before the election, the coalition went to the election with a gentleman’s agreement to be Prime Minister in turns.

On consensual, after elections the first prime minister’s post fell to Dahal. However, Deuba started preparations to have not only the Prime Minister but also the President in his party. On December 24, Arzu called some women MPs to Baluwatar and asked them to convince Deuba not to leave the post of Prime Minister at any cost. Until the end sticking to the same request, Deuba told Dahal that his friends had decided not to leave the Prime Minister. Dahal then said in the ongoing alliance meeting, “Then the alliance is over, I left.”

The Unseen Truth:

Maoist leader Barshman Pun announced the end of the alliance before Dahal. He had told Prime Minister Deuba on December 24, “If Dahal is not the Prime Minister, we will not stay in the alliance for even a minute.” Deuba took this speech of Pun, who had recently received treatment in China, as a Chinese response. Americans easily convinced Deuba, they will make him the prime minister.

For a long time, America’s desire was to form a government without Maoists. In recent times, they have also joined the government without the participation of UML president KP Oli. Of course, America was thinking of forming a government of non-communists under the leadership of Congress. For this, the Americans were thinking of forming a government under the leadership of the Congress, not the Prime Minister who had the majority.

The time given by President Bidhya Devi Bhandari to form the government was ending at 5 pm on December 25. If Dahal could be confused by 5 o’clock, the process of appointing the Prime Minister with the majority would be cancelled. After that, there is a constitutional provision that the president is forced to appoint the leader of the biggest party as the Prime Minister. There is a constitutional provision that such a government should take a vote of confidence from the House of Representatives within 35 days.

On December 24, UML President Oli said publicly that Dahal’s time to be the Prime Minister is over. He could not decide in time. After Oli’s speech, it was easy to understand that not only America, but also Deuba, who followed the American plan, had come to the decision that Oli would not carry Dahal. On the other hand, UML leaders have been saying that they are not in the race to form the government. Of course, Oli’s preparations were secret. The secretariat of CPN-UML gave President Oli all the responsibilities of government formation.

Oli was knowledgeable about how the Americans were playing. On the other hand, Indians were playing in favor of Dahal. At the invitation of the Bharatiya Janata Party, Arzu made Dahal to work for India in Delhi. Arzu’s thinking didn’t work when Delhi and America started micro-managing Nepal at the same time. She stayed away from Delhi’s intension. On December 8, Nihar Nayak, an expert on Nepal affairs based in New Delhi, clarified India’s opinion. In an interview with online news, he said, if Prachanda is offered the Prime Minister, Oli’s desire to return to power can be fulfilled.

What was India’s desire is clear from this comment of Nayak. India did not see an alternative to Dahal in the Prime Minister. America was not in favor of finding an alternative to Deuba. After Gagan Card failed, America was dependent on Deuba. They were thinking that the Maoists could be crushed during the MCC pass. Madhav Nepal, president of United Samajwadi Party, did the job of crediting this thinking. Nepal’s understanding was that Dahal would not leave him and shake hands with the UML. Of course, in the end, Dahal returns to the government.

Deuba relied on the plans made by the US, but Congress leaders did not seem to rely so much. Because of this, it seems that many leaders are in a hurry to put the blame of this failure on Deuba. Senior Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel said that Dahal was betrayed by Deuba. It seems that UML President Oli is in favor of building this equation because of Poudel, who is in the race for the presidency. After the dissolution of parliament, Poudel is among the leaders who insulted Oli the most. Oli was not thinking of accepting Poudel as the president. So it seems that it is easy for the leaders of the second generation to agree to this option.

Overall, it seems that the American plan did not work in the latest political changes in Nepal. This incident completely failed the US in its micromanagement of Nepal. As a result, the American dream of encircling China by making Nepal the center has also been pushed back for some time. Not only that, after 2072, India, which had drifted away from Nepal’s micromanagement, has returned to its rhythm. The US has reached a situation where India’s consent is needed to advance the SPP, IPS, etc. projects advanced by the US in Nepal to encircle China. It seems that the geopolitical pressure on Nepal has reduced to some extent.

Who played the role:

Narayankaji Shrestha, the vice-president of the Maoists, believed the left-wing forces should be united in the election and government formation, even though they cooperated in the struggle against the dissolution of the parliament with others. He has been speaking inside and outside the party in favor of the Left Alliance saying that cooperation with the Congress will be complicated after the election. He met UML President Oli twice before the formal call for government formation by the President. Shrestha was in discussions with UML General Secretary Shankar Pokharel about a possible left alliance.

Oli’s condition was that there would be no problem in making Dahal, who left the alliance, the Prime Minister. There was a strong opinion within the Maoists that they should be in favor of the continuation of the alliance now that they had cooperation in the elections together with the Congress. Dahal, on the other hand, was not in favor of cooperating with the Congress by going below the Prime Minister’s line. The cover given by the Indians also helped him to strengthen his legs.

Considering the possibility, Senior Vice President Shrestha was in dialogue with the UML leaders. Maoist General Secretary Dev Gurung and Deputy General Secretary Barshaman Pun were also active for the Left Alliance. In the meantime, pictures showing Oli-Prachanda’s closeness were made public at the time of the swearing-in of the senior members of the Parliament in Shital Nivas and on the day of the swearing-in of the parliamentarians in the Parliament.

A week after the election, Vice President Bishnu Poudel, Subas Nemwang, General Secretary Shankar Pokhrel and Deputy General Secretary Prithvisubba Gurung from UML showed activity to prepare an alternative to the Congress-led coalition. After winning the election, Deputy Secretary General Gurung went to Balkot and openly suggested to President Oli that it would be appropriate to form a left-led government according to the current mandate. “For political stability, to protect the country’s independence, to stop foreign manipulation, to give the right direction to the economy, UML’s leadership or a left-led government is necessary. UML’s main task is that, as soon as we take the initiative, a left-led government can be formed in all the seven provinces,” Gurung said.

On the morning of the 25th, the Maoist officials held a meeting. In the meeting, Chairman Dahal briefed that the possibility of an agreement with the Congress has been ended. Leaders including Vice President Shrestha told about the possibility of alternatives. And, it was decided to make a last effort with the Congress. Accordingly, the Maoist leaders went to Baluwatar. However, there was no agreement on who should become the Prime Minister first. Dahal left the meeting. Under the leadership of Senior Vice President Shrestha, Gurung and Pun were entrusted to carry forward the dialogue with Oli.

Vice President Shrestha had a conversation with Oli. Oli entrusted Bishnu Poudel to do the necessary homework. Then there was a dialogue between Shrestha and Poudel. Leaders of Rashtriya Swatantra Party, Janamukti Party and Nagrik Unmukti Party were invited to Balkot. A week ago, Oli informed them about the compulsion to join the government. Because the Congress did not care, the three parties were close to Oli. RPP and JSP, which are in the opposition alliance, were in contact with Oli. It was there that a formal decision was made to form a government under the leadership of Dahal.

After the Maoists broke the alliance, Prime Minister Deuba offered Dahal and Oli to become the prime minister over the phone. In the beginning, Deuba proposed to Oli to become the Prime Minister for a five-year term with the support of the Congress rather than forming a government by combining several parties. Oli kept the phone saying thank you for your goodwill, now Prachanda has come. Oli and Dahal were together. After Oli, Deuba called Dahal. Deuba asked Dahal to return as it was a unanimous decision to make him the Prime Minister. Dahal also cut the phone saying that your proposal came late.

The Nepali Congress, which has fallen behind in this race, has lost all positions of power for the next five years. Not only in the federal government but in all the seven provinces, the Congress has become the opposition. This event seems to be very important in the history of Nepal not only because of political benefits. If the situation of continuing this alliance continues, it will cause a big stir in the next election as well. Apart from this, it seems that America is not able to protect even the National Independent Party which has been working in its favor.

The reason behind this is the great trust of America has on the Congress. America was very excited in Nepal because of the role played by the Congress leaders during the MCC pass. However, it seems that this enthusiasm will not return to the old rhythm in the next few years. Probably: if India and China join hands strongly, the incident of 25 December will be the starting point for the downward direction of American influence in Nepal.

@ Danfetv


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