By N. P. Upadhyaya
The newly elected member of House of Representatives from Kathmandu constituency No 1, Nepali Congress leader Prakash Man Singh — the illustrious son of ironman late Ganesh Man Singh and the one who quit the party for good due to the utter humiliation caused by Girija Prasad Koirala — having braved all the trials and tribulations in the just concluded parliamentary elections finally has emerged with flying colors to the utter dismay of his nearest rival Rabindra Mishra, a candidate belonging from relatively a new party, the Bibeksheel Sajha party, and one Anil Sharma from Maoists Center.
Mishra, it is widely talked that while serving the BBC World Service had initiated a horrible debate what if Nepal were merged with India in 2007-8, to which he denies tooth and nail.
A jubilant Prakash Man Singh after his third consecutive victory from Kathmandu heartland has spoken in a somewhat rough and tough tone that may, in all likelihood, have come as an embarrassment of the Himalayan order for the sitting Prime Minister who happens to be the commander of the NC and is also taken by the NC rank and file as to be have been the person who caused irreparable damage to the party this round of elections at the parliamentary and the provincial levels to the extent that the NC party has now been reduced to a village level political entity that has lost practically all the number one political stalwarts who had been ruling the country since the great political change after 1990 more so after the nation was mercilessly declared a republic with secular credentials much to the chagrin of the majority of the population who preferred perhaps the same old existing religion as it had not been in conflict with other existing national beliefs and faiths.
Notably the one who dismantled the monarchy and made the country secular one, as it is now, under the direct patronage of late Girija Prasad Koirala, peace be upon him, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, a lawyer turned picked up politician has lost the parliamentary polls perhaps the voters rejected him for his past follies.
Interestingly Sitaula lost election as against a RPP functionary and a monarchist Rajendra Lingden. This too must have some meaning underneath.
The others who lost were, among others, Mahesh Acharya, Dr. Shekhar Koirala, Dr. Ram Saran Mahat, Ram Chandra Poudel and many more to the extent that the vibrant party of the bygone era is perhaps on the verge of extinction thanks to the timely combined efforts of the Left alliances engineered by Khadga Prasad Oli and former NOIDA dweller much ahead of the just concluded election. The declaration of this alliance was taken as a surprise for the last Dashain festivals.
By time of the writing this story, while the Left alliances are beaming for having bagged almost two thirds majority, the rival democratic alliance is busy in saving its face among the general masses and perhaps thinking on how to carry forward their respective politics in the days ahead and that too in a manner that could challenge the expected dominance of the jubilant left alliances.
Thanks Prakash Man Singh and Dr, Minendra Rizal could emerge with flying colors in Kathmandu and Morang constituencies and thus saved the sliding prestige of the Congress.
To boot, the presumed Indo-pendent NC leaders of the former era have been mercilessly sidelined by the intelligent Nepali voters perhaps for their subservient attitude visibly exhibited at time of the inhumane economic blockade imposed by the Modi government of India immediately after the devastating earthquake 2015, for above six months or so. It were these leaders, who lost the election this round, even dared not to take it as a blockade thus annoying the people who suffered the most during those difficult days. Some heavily paid ones even encouraged the Indian regime to further tighten the blockade so that the Nepalese people could feel for long as to what it meant to keep India in an angry mood. The fault of Nepal had been that, if it were any, promulgation of the new charter even when a third class Indian emissary Jayashanker had landed in Kathmandu to halt the issuance of the national charter under the pretext that it had not been an inclusive and all embracing one for a section of the people the Indian establishment perhaps preferred. The then leaders did not listen to the Indian dictates and the constitution got promulgated. Thus the Nepali ordeal for six months began. (The writer of this story felt the blockade pain himself).
Undeterred by the Indian wrath, the then Nepali Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Oli braved the Indian highhandedness and began seeking helps from the northern neighbor and bagged substantial gains. China, an all weather friend came to the rescue of trouble ridden Nepal to the extent she could help which also irritated the Indian establishment to a new degree whose net result was that Oli, once of the Medanta-Oli fame had to change his political credentials as Beijing- Oli and this changed his identifications perhaps continues till to date. Oli now is taken as a true nationalist leader.
Many in the Congress camp strongly believe that the formation of the Left alliance is the Chinese brain which changed the political dynamics of Nepal, at least for the time being, until the Indian establishment could devise a strategy on how to neutralize this Chinese wits and apply its own brute intellect in place so that the Nepali politics remains under the very grip of India as usual. India prefers the Nehruvian doctrine to continue in Nepal. The people back in Nepal possess distaste for this outdated canon manufactured and carried over by the Indian babus.
Whether it were Chinese mind or not, we shall discuss later, however, if it were the northern brain then India, as is its old habit, has to do or will devise strategies to counter this strategy to make it either blunt or even non-functional. The sick mindset that it is by all counts.
Indications to this effect have already been noted in an article penned by Bhadra Kumar in his fresh write-up in the Asia Times wherein he says that Nepal (with the election results) has gone out of the Indian orbit.
According to Kumar the Maldives is also going out from the grip of India being now replaced by the Chinese.
Kumar laments that the Indian mishandling of the foreign policy in the neighborhood has brought this shift. Correct analysis.
Nepal was never in the Indian orbit, be it known to Bhadra Kumar. As of the Maldives, let the people there decide whether they have opted for this shift or not as the Indians claim.
It is Kumar’s reading and we have nothing to do with his claims however, what is for sure is that India over these years has annoyed its smaller neighbors to the extent that the these aggrieved countries, read India tortured nations, have had to find a reliable friend who could lessen their India inflicted pains. So it should be in this light the China factor in Nepal, if any, has to be seen. No qualms. Nepal did what needed to be done a few decades back.
The dragon has already entered Nepal and likely to stay for long.
India presumably has sleepless nights for obvious political reasons. Trusted and the tested ones of the Southern establishment have been forced to retire for quite some time. India in all likelihood will not remain silent and may not take the election reversal in a good taste and perhaps begin structuring plans on how to regain its original say in Nepali politics. The Indian thrust would be to challenge China in Nepal.
Thus China and India are expected to meet each other in Nepal if things go as presumed by this writer long time back. The subtle tussle must have already begun.
How the Left alliance and its leaders goad the nation for five good years will have to be watched. Care also must be taken not to irritate further India as excessive irritation may tempt her to impose yet another economic blockade – the likelihood though remains.
An expanded relation with China now has become quite essential for understandable political reasons. Perhaps China understands Nepali needs better and let us hope that she increases her presence in Nepal that balances India ad nauseating interferences. However, China too should understand the gravity of Nepali sovereignty and act in a manner that satisfies both the partners.
A cultured friend, that China is, shall not betray Nepali hopes is what is expected of her.
To sum up, much now depends on how the emerging Nepali leadership takes steps for making the country a self-reliant one with the support of neighbors especially from China. It is also time for China to prove in words and deeds that a friendly Nepal is in her strategic interests to further advance her long march towards achieving her own perceived goals in South Asia and much beyond through her several initiatives, OBOR to name a few, taken in the recent years.
(The writer is the senior journalist and editor of The Telegraph weekly publishing from Kathmandu. He has started to contribute for People’s Review weekly-Ed.)