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Nepal fails to elect new PM - yet again
KATHMANDU, OCT 26 (Agencies):
Published on 26 Oct. 2010 10:38 PM IST
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Almost a month after India’s external affairs minister S M Krishna met Nepal’s representative, home minister Bhim Rawal, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York and urged for a quick resolution of protracted crisis in the formation of a new government, the Himalayan republic failed to elect a new premier on Tuesday, even after an unprecedented 13th round of vote, with less than a third of the disinterested lawmakers bothering to cast their vote.
According to TNN, the failure of the pro- India Nepali Congress party’s candidate Ram Chandra Poudel to win 300 votes means a 14th round of vote will now be held on Friday.
However, nothing short of a miracle would see Poudel, who got just 98 votes from the 144 MPs present, clinch simple majority Friday and end four months of futile sparring.
Nepal’s inability to form a new government means major Indo-Nepal agreements will continue to remain on the backburner with New Delhi loath to enter into important negotiations with a caretaker government and the opposition Maoist party preventing the outgoing cabinet of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal from signing any major deal.
The former guerrillas have even blocked the caretaker government from tabling the new budget, driving the country on the verge of bankruptcy.
The inability of the caretaker government to exercise any control on the Maoists as well as their People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is also causing concern to New Delhi.
Nearly a dozen Maoist leaders, including PLA commanders, went on a trip to China this month and South Block is curious about the purpose of the visit. While the Maoists are saying it was a personal trip, given the recent scandal about the Maoists seeking money from a Chinese businessman to buy MPs’ votes for Prachanda during the prime ministerial election, clandestine China visits are a matter of special interest to South Block.
The ministry of external affairs managed to wrest a victory of sorts when its demarche to the Nepali ambassador to India, Rukma Shumsher Rana, protesting the Maoist attack earlier this month on the Indian ambassador to Nepal, finally produced some result. Nepal’s home ministry said in a statement that it would enhance security for the Indian ambassador, Rakesh Sood, and ordered an inquiry into the incident.
Sood, who had gone to Solukhumbu district in northern Nepal on Oct 6 to inaugurate an eye clinic for school children, was shown black flags by Maoist protesters who also threw stones and shoes at his car. New Delhi’s protest almost a fortnight earlier failed to make Nepal’s government take action against the miscreants, who were led by former Maoist minister Gopal Kiranti, causing South Block to summon Rana in New Delhi.
However, given Nepal’s fragile political situation and the helplessness of the caretaker government, it remains to be seen if it will have the nerve to take action against Kiranti.

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