Kathmandu, Feb 14: Karan Singh, a former minister and senior leader of India’s ruling Congress, arrived here Friday on a “political mission”.
At a time when Nepal’s newly-elected government is embroiled in a power-sharing row and has not been able to sort out who will be in charge of the home ministry, many in Kathmandu are guessing here that Karan Singh, considered as the Nepal hand in the Indian establishment, may help in finding a way out.
The two largest parties in Nepal’s parliament – Nepali Congress (NC) and Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) – who are also coalition partners, are both staking claim over the home ministry, making it difficult for Prime Minister Sushil Koirala to expand his cabinet.
Karan Singh will be meeting President Ram Baran Yadav, Prime Minister Koirala and others during the course of his visit.
He will convey the message of the Indian establishment to Nepali political leaders to come good on promises they made during the polls – like promulgating a new constitution within a year – sources said.
He is the first high-level Indian dignitary to travel Nepal after the election of the Constitution Assembly in November last year.
Diplomatic sources here told IANS that Karan Singh would convey messages from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi to the newly elected Nepali prime minister.
Karan Singh, who is well known among Nepali politicians, is married to a daughter of Nepal’s erstwhile Rana elite ruling class and always considers Nepal his second home.
Apart form meeting with political leaders, Karan Singh will also deliver a lecture on ‘Cooperative Development, Peace and Security in South Asia’ jointly organised by Chandigarh’s Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) and the Center for South Asian Studies (CSAS).
According to the Indian embassy in Kathmandu, Karan Singh will also unveil his books, ‘My Story’ (Mero Katha) and ‘Meetings with Remarkable Women’ in Kathmandu. He will also speak on the Bhagwad Gita.
Karan Singh has been noted and widely respected in Nepali politics after Indian sent him as an emissary in 2006 when now deposed king Gynendra Shah took over power in Nepal to pressurise him to relinquish power to the agitating political parties.
After Karan Singh suggested a patch-up betweeen the agitating parties and the then monarch, Nepal opted for new political courses that made easy for the Maoists to join the political mainstream as well join the peace process by surrendering arms.
(Anil Giri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)