Nepal has been in chaos ever since President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House of Representatives in December last year on the recommendation of the then Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. Though the Supreme Court had restored the House in February this year, the defiant President dissolved it in May — again as recommended by Oli — and announced snap polls in November. Now, following another intervention by the apex court, Sher Bahadur Deuba has taken charge as the PM.
Regardless the change of guard, political stability may remain unclear in Nepal in view of the fiery power battle that has been going on even amongst the Covid pandemic. As per constitutional provisions, Deuba must prove his majority in the 275-member House of Representatives within 30 days of his appointment as the PM, albeit he has been at the helm four times previously, Deuba’s governance record is inconsistent. He faces the difficult task of containing the Covid crisis, primarily by ramping up vaccine coverage. Though Nepal is not among the worst-hit countries, having recorded around 6.5 lakh coronavirus cases and over 9,400 deaths so far, its number of cases and deaths per million population is alarmingly like that of India.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh was the first foreign leader who called up Deuba and congratulated him on his appointment as the Prime Minister. India should find it easier to deal with Deuba compared to Oli, who has made no secret of his pro-China leanings. Oli has also not shied away from annoying India with ‘unjustified cartographic assertions’ in a bid to whip up nationalistic desire. Though Raisina Hills doesn’t want to interfere in Kathmandu’s internal affairs, it should spare no effort in helping the neighbour fight the pandemic and recover on the financial front. Enter Vol.