The Nepali poll results are a mixed bag for India, which has kept off the internal affairs of its closest neighbour
The results of the election to the Nepal’s House of Representatives and the decision of the Nepali Congress and the CPN Maoist Centre, the largest of the five parties in the ruling coalition that faced the poll, to stand together and form a majority government open the prospects of an end to the political uncertainty that governed the Himalayan republic for long, and especially in the last five years.
The coalition led by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s Nepali Congress (NC) has bagged more than half of the seats in results declared so far and is on course to secure a majority in the 165 seats filled by direct elections in the 275-seat parliament. As it will get the number of seats proportional to its vote in the remaining 110 seats, elected through a proportional electoral system, the coalition will, in all likelihood, end up crossing the 138-seat mark.
The 2017 elections had given the Communists a mandate to govern for five years and strengthen the democratic process in a country that was transformed from a monarchy into a republic through a political process which they midwifed. But infighting and hankering after power brought in a schism among them, bringing the NC back in the picture. With the present coalition, the largely liberal NC will lead the government with the support of the leftists.
Observers have noticed the emergence of the fringe monarchist and nationalistic groups such as Rastriya Prajatantra Party, thanks mainly to the political games indulged in by the mainstream ones. It is up to the winning coalition to choose a path that will take Nepal firmly in the direction of democracy, for the nation, riven by internal strife for quite long, needs policies and programmes that take its largely poor population to prosperity.
The Nepali poll results are a mixed bag for India, which has kept off the internal affairs of its closest neighbour. While the NC has traditionally kept good relations with India, the Communists have different ideas about it. The two nations must be led by the fact that the neighbourly relations between them have, unlike most others, unusually heavy but often unrecognised, stakes.