Narendra Modi remains Indian prime minister (PM) since May 2014. There has been change at the helm in Nepal on five occasions since then.
Modi phoned all of the previous Nepali PMs on the day they were appointed or the day after at the latest to congratulate them, and invited them for India visit.
PMs of Nepal and India have been promptly congratulating the newly-appointed PM of the other country even when the bilateral relationship between the two countries has been strained. Modi had congratulated KP Sharma Oli on the day of appointment on October 11, 2015 even when India had imposed economic blockade due to its dissatisfaction over the Constitution of Nepal and Oli was elected PM in the House despite India blatantly trying to help Sushil Koirala continue as PM.
But Modi has ignored the tradition and is yet to congratulate Sher Bahadur Deuba who was appointed PM on Tuesday apparently against Indian wishes to continue Oli at helm this time.
Many attribute the delay this time to the new-found chumminess between Modi and Oli.
India backed Oli right from the time he dissolved the House for the first time on December 25, 2020 and wanted Oli to continue until the next general election. India had advised Deuba to not try to topple the Oli government and later even put pressure on him after Nepali Congress (NC) tried to forge an opposition alliance against Oli.
Deuba was, therefore, reluctant to take initiative to form a new government and had confided with his lieutenants that India would create problems for him if he were to become PM.
Deuba agreed to lead the opposition alliance this time only after NC leaders put intense pressure on him pointing that India wants to continue Oli at helm for a long time and warned of the risks of an election not being held in time if the Supreme Court (SC) were to endorse House dissolution, an NC leader close to Deuba confided.
Modi has not congratulated Deuba until Sunday afternoon despite the latter being appointed on Tuesday after the SC reinstated the House and instructed Deuba be made PM.
Published Date: Sunday, Shrawan 3, 2078, 17:10:00