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Indian media playing second fiddle to mount pressure on Oli

STAFF WRITER, KATHMANDU: In what points out at how Indian media works in tandem with government of the day to intimidate neighbors, currently it is common to see “tailored” reports about Nepal in Indian newspapers to step up pressure on K P Oli-led government to bow out or capitulate.

Reports are awash with claims that Oli could be on his way out come the spring, while suggesting that he has not been able to command the respect of the constituent parties and that he has no solution for tarai imbroglio.

This is in full demonstration currently while the Oli government is adamant on the fact that the Indian side must first call off economic blockade on Nepal before Nepal-India cooperation agenda can take off.

Oli who has demonstrated that he will not give up nationalist stance in defending Nepal’s point of view on issues of bilateral interest has time and again made it clear that he will instead upgrade ties with the northern neighbor China than fall in line and let the Indian side take advantage of over-dependence on it.

The current state of affairs between Nepal and India have apparently got to do with harnessing Nepalese rivers flowing down south into the Indian state of Bihar in ways that both ensures supply of regulated water as well as control flooding in monsoon season, something the Nepalese side has not yet agreed to go by the Indian agenda for understandable reasons.

However this does not figure in media with the ruse being clauses in the Nepalese constitution related to Madhesh which purportedly do not do justice to the people of Indian origin settled there. Yet the constitution was backed by 585 members out of 601.

Then there is another demand raised by tarai-centric parties and backed by India concerning federation of the country along geographic line, suggesting tarai should be a single state separated from the hill. The move is insidious at best and hence ruled out.

Meanwhile the agitation launched by tarai outfits has petered off with a solitary sadhu found at the sit in protest venue at the border in what is a mockery of Indian claim that movement at the border is hampered by protesters on the Nepalese side.

The total deaths have however mounted to 59 in what was unfortunate and avoidable had the political parties not chased their self-defeating agenda.

Apart from mobilizing media to achieve political objective over a sovereign nation the Indian side has also made use of disgruntled section of people by giving them voice through media while taking them on a tour of Delhi.

Leaders of the agitating parties Mahanta Thakur, Upendra Yadav, Mahendra Raya and Rajendra Mahato — all of whom have made it to big league in Nepalese politics —- were invited to Delhi and taken around giving them plenty of photo op that was aimed at boosting their political height back home.

However it is not the first time the Indian side has promoted people which fulfill their interest. Even Congress, CPN-UML and even the Maoist outfit have enjoyed tremendous favor from the Indian side at various times.

While Congress leaders especially the Koirala family has good ties with section of the Indian ruling establishment from time to time, similar is the case in case of CPN-UML and Maoist outfit led by Prachanda.

But now the time has changed not to extend favors to them, with the camera zeroing in on tarai and related matters. The Maoist went on rampage in Nepal for 15 years from the Indian soil while the Congress party was born in India and many its leaders believed to be pro-Indian too.

Published Date: Friday, February 5th, 2016 | 09:39 PM

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