The restoration of Nepal’s dissolved lower house of Parliament by the Supreme Court and Sher Bahadur Deuba becoming the Prime Minister for the fifth term by winning the trust vote by a comfortable margin, has finally helped the Nepalese to heave a sigh of relief.
Nepal under the Prime Minister-ship of K.P. Sharma Oli had been occupying the international headlines for all the wrong reasons and the Himalayan nation plunged into uncertainties and political instability.
With almost one and a half years to go for the next general elections, Deuba as the most favourite choice to head the country, has already announced that his top priority would be to ensure that all the Nepalese are vaccinated against Covid-19 even as the threat of a third wave of the pandemic looms large.
Though it is not certain what lies in store for the bilateral relations between Nepal and India, the statements of the Prime Ministers of both the countries have raised hopes that the ever-worsening ties would soon improve.
Deuba was instrumental in signing eight Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) during his India visit in August 2017. The MoUs largely helped in reconstruction of Nepal that was badly hit by an earthquake in 2015.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among the first to congratulate Deuba after he won the confidence vote is a clear cut indication that the unique and millenia-old people-to-people linkages that underpin the special friendship between the two countries would take greater heights.
Modi has also assured of supply of Covid-19 vaccines. It is expected that the supply of one million doses of vaccines from India which was stalled, will soon resume.
Deuba’s diplomatic and political statements, including the one when he visited India in 2017 as the Prime Minister, proved his maturity in regard to how to maintain a balanced ties with both India and China. However, this time China has every other reason not to expect the same benevolence as it used to get during the time of Oli.
In a bid to portray India into bad light despite its best efforts to take the bilateral relation to a greater height, Oli tried to work overtime to appease its northern neighbour.
Oli’s egoistic rhetoric would have only caused more damage to the tiny country in the long run.
Deuba has a challenging task to outdo the wrong.
At least four of the eight MoUs signed in 2017, including utilisation of India’s Housing Grant Component to support reconstruction of 50,000 houses had largely helped Nepal.
Similarly MoUs on implementation of reconstruction packages in the education sector, cultural heritage sector and in the health sector in Nepal, were the testimony of how Deuba was a pragmatic leader who could easily visualise the issues and prioritize them.
India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla during his two-day-long Nepal visit in November 2020, reiterated that the two nations are the closest friends and would work together to fine tune the same.
Deuba echoed the same immediately after he became the Prime Minister.
Though Deuba holds a record of not completing his tenure every time he became the Prime Minister, the way he won the trust vote this time sends a signal that he would continue to enjoy comfortable support till the time the country goes to the general election.
Though it is too early to project what lies in store for Nepal known for its political instability, Nepalese people at large are hopeful that a new dawn would usher under Deuba’s leadership.
And the development process stalled due to political quagmire, would move on fast track, under the leadership of the President of Nepali Congress Party.