Facing Maoist protests, Nepal premier gets India’s support

As the situation in Nepal gets more tense by the day with the Maoists calling for an indefinite strike from tomorrow, India has thrown its weight behind the current coalition government. In fact, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has told his Nepalese counterpart Madhav Kumar Nepal that New Delhi has "full confidence" in his leadership.

It is learnt that Singh conveyed this to the Nepal PM during a conversation on the sidelines of the recently concluded SAARC Summit in Thimphu. He is believed to have said: "We have full confidence that the government which enjoys the support of majority of parties in Nepal would be the one to deliver on the peace process and the new constitution. We have full faith that under your leadership the resolute and forceful government can meet these challenges."

However, sources said, India is also working the back channels with Nepal's Maoists, telling them that there can hardly be any meeting ground until the Maoists give up their insistence on having only Prachanda as their PM candidate. These efforts have not yielded much result till now as the Nepal Maoists passed a resolution on Friday naming Prachanda as their sole PM nominee.

With an estimated 1 lakh Maoists having gathered in and around Kathmandu for the Labour Day rally today to demand the ouster of the current coalition government, authorities are gearing up for an extended stand-off given that Maoists have called for an indefinite strike from tomorrow.

In this context, Singh's words to the Nepal PM come as a strong boost for the coalition government. Buoyed by India's support, Madhav Kumar Nepal convened a meeting of the National Defence Council as soon as he returned from Thimphu on Friday and decided to use the Army if the situation went out of control. The Nepal Army has since been put on alert.

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