12 June 2017: Former Indian ambassador to Nepal, Rakesh Sood, has penned an article for The Hindu urging the Government of India to help newly-elected Nepal Prime Minister so that the remaining local body polls are held and the constitution amended.
Last week, Sher Bahadur Deuba became the South Asian republic’s 24th prime minister since multiparty democracy was restored in the country 27 years ago.
“India needs to support Mr. Deuba’s efforts to conclude the local body elections followed by the passage of the constitutional amendment, which will clear the way for the provincial and parliamentary elections under the new Constitution,” he wrote in the article available on the newspaper’s website.
He also urged India to quickly deliver on its promise of over a billion dollar worth of assistance made over the last two years. Only then Narendra Modi will have delivered on his much-hyped “neighbourhood first” policy, he reminded.
Concluding local body elections as well as the constitutional amendment process will bring political stability to Nepal, the career diplomat maintained.
He warned Mr Deuba has a tough job ahead given UML’s stand on constitutional amendment. He also indicated that Mr Deuba will have a rather short stint in the fourth round of his prime ministership.
Mr Sood praised the 2015 Constitution which he said ensured significant decentralisation of powers. “Consequently, the local bodies now enjoy extensive financial powers. It is estimated significant that more than $5 billion will now be spent by the local bodies on infrastructure and delivery of social services,” he pointed out. This, he argued, will eventually result in the creation of a much-needed “new political leadership”.