Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday assured his Nepalese counterpart Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” that India will extend all possible assistance for the elections to in Nepal’s local government bodies scheduled for May and June.
The poll process came under a cloud after political parties in the Madhes region bordering India threatened to boycott the voting to pressure the government to address their demands, including the amendment of Nepal’s new Constitution.
The tabling of a revised constitutional amendment bill by the government in Parliament has heightened the chances of Madhesi parties participating in the polls.
During the telephone conversation, Modi conveyed his best wishes to Prachanda for the successful conclusion of the elections to be held in two phases on May 14 and June 14. These will be the first polls to local government bodies in 20 years.
Modi conveyed the support of the people and government of India for Nepal’s efforts to achieve peace, stability and socio-economic transformation, and assured Prachanda that New Delhi will extend all possible assistance for the polls, according to an official statement.
Prachanda thanked Modi and said Nepal will implement the new Constitution by holding the elections on time, the statement said.
A separate statement issued by the Indian side said the two prime ministers discussed recent developments in bilateral relations, including Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s recent visit to India.
Prachanda spoke about his government’s efforts to “take all stakeholders on board in the constitution implementation process” and sought India’s assistance for the upcoming elections.
However, there was confusion about one aspect of the telephone conversation: Who initiated the call. The statement issued by Prachanda’s secretariat said Modi had called the Nepalese prime minister. The Indian statement said Prachanda made the telephone call.
The confusion also gave rise to different theories in Kathmandu about India’s position on the polls.