Deuba Takes Oath As Nepal Prime Minister

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The oath-taking ceremony was delayed after Deuba refused to take the oath saying that a statement issued by the President’s office didn’t mention that he was appointed as per Article 76 (5) of the Constitution, reports Asian Lite News

Nepal’s newly-appointed Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba took oath of office and secrecy on Tuesday evening.

Deuba also formed a small cabinet and administered the oath of office and secrecy following the oath taking ceremony at the President’s office.

President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered the oath to Deuba at a special ceremony at Sheetal Niwas, the President’s office.

The oath-taking ceremony was delayed after Deuba refused to take the oath saying that a statement issued by the President’s office didn’t mention that he was appointed as per Article 76 (5) of the Constitution.

An earlier statement issued by the President’s office had stated that Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party leader Deuba has been appointed the Prime Minister in accordance with the July 12 verdict of the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Bench.

Deuba became ready for the oath after the President’s office corrected the statement, mentioning that Deuba was appointed as per Article 76 (5).

A day after the Supreme Court overturned Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s decision to dissolve the Parliament and the announcement of fresh polls in November, President Bhandari appointed Deuba as the Prime Minister of the country.

Deuba, 75, is former four-time Prime Minister of the country. He is leading an alliance of four parties, his own Nepali Congress, Nepal Communist Party (Maoist Center), Janata Samajbai Party and Rastriya Janamorcha.

The court had ordered the President to appoint Deuba as the Prime Minister by 5 pm on Tuesday. Deuba enjoyed majority votes in the House.

This is Deuba’s fifth term as the Prime Minister. He had previously served four terms as the Prime Minister of Nepal from 1995 to 1997, 2001 to 2002, 2004 to 2005, and 2017 to 2018. Now, Deuba needs to win a vote of confidence motion in the Lower House within 30 days to remain in office.

Along with Deuba, four ministers also took the oath of secrecy, two from his party and two from the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Center).

Rajnath congratulates Deuba

Indian Defence Minister and senior BJP leader Rajnath Singh on Tuesday congratulated Sher Bahadur Deuba for being appointed as the new Prime Minister of Nepal.

During a telephonic conversation between Singh and Deuba, both the leaders discussed the long-standing bilateral ties between the two countries and the ways to further strengthen them.

Singh was the first foreign leader to congratulate Deuba upon his appointment as the Prime Minister of the Himalayan nation for the fifth time.

Deuba’s immediate challenges would be to revive the sagging economy of the country and control the spread of the Covid 19 pandemic.

India will naturally keep a close watch on the political developments in the neighbouring state. Policy observers said that India must carve out a well “thought-through” and clear foreign policy pertaining to Nepal.

Udaya Shumsher Rana, member of the Nepali Congress and former minister of state for finance, told India Narrative that traditionally his party has always maintained cordial and stable relations with India.

“For the Nepali Congress international relations have never been driven by domestic politics as we have been seeing in the recent past. The thrust will be to maintain good relations with all the neighbours but we will not be anti-one country or the other,” Rana said.

Rana added that Nepal would now work closely with India especially on two fronts�economy and health.

“India and Nepal have an open border policy, so the two neighbours need to work in sync. To tackle the menacing pandemic, we need to battle it out collectively. Until everyone is safe in the region, we will not be able to address the Covid 19 problem. It is, therefore, critical to ensure that the entire Indian and Nepalese population is safe,” Rana said.

For the new government, the issue of expanding connectivity will also be critical, as that will boost economic growth. Sources said that China would be closely watching the developments in Nepal. Oli, in particular, has been trying to warm up to China.

Bhaskar Koirala, Director of the Nepal Institute of International and Strategic Studies pointed out that Indo-Nepal relations going forward are laced with unfulfilled promises.

“It seems to me that this bilateral relationship must also seek to transcend, to whatever extent possible, India’s larger regional policy by fine tuning this policy to focus exclusively on Nepal. In other words, greater emphasis must be placed on harnessing this bilateral relationship within that particular straight-jacket,” he told India Narrative.

In a note, published on Monday, the Observer Research Foundation noted that while India’s policy in South Asia is based on “Neighbourhood First”, the Nepal-India relationship goes further, “not just because of proximity, cultural, and people-to-people relationship but because the two countries have marched together in search of identity, inclusiveness, and a value-based democratic system.”

Earlier, Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) foreign affairs department in-charge Vijay Chauthaliwale at an event said that India views Nepal as a sovereign nation and the two neighbours have equitable partnership, sharing mutual respect.

He also underlined that India and Nepal have equitable partnership and share mutual respect. “India would like to work with Nepal on three levels: government to government, people to people and cultural relations,” he said.

India now needs to act fast and boost connectivity which also includes people to people contact.

(IANS/indianarrative)

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