The need to include

The legitimacy of the constitutional process might be questioned in the absence of the breakaway Maoist party.

Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid told a visiting group of Nepali editors that it would be wise on the part of major parties to bring the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) — which had boycotted the polls — into the constitution-making process by nominating some of its leaders to the Constituent Assembly (CA). Khurshid also explained how India viewed Nepal's affairs post election: Delhi was not closer to any party, but would be guided by the wishes of the Nepalese people, and that it wished success to the constitution-making process.

CPN-M chief Mohan Baidya reacted swiftly, asserting that it was not for an outsider to recommend "our nomination" to the House. Baidya's anger was understandable, as India is largely perceived as the key international player behind the chief justice-led government that oversaw the election, something that the CPN-M had opposed on the ground that it would violate the principle of separation of powers and compromise the independence of the judiciary. The exclusion of the CPN-M, part of the decade-long Maoist insurgency, and the radical political changes that followed, has now triggered fears and debate: can the changes be legitimised if the CPN-M is kept out? Khurshid was not the only external actor to realise what the CPN-M's exclusion would mean.

Ai Ping, the vice minister for Asia Pacific affairs of the Communist Party of China, lobbied intensely not to keep the CPN-M out. But unlike Khurshid, he didn't plead for the symbolic inclusion of the party in the House. During his meetings with top leaders of various parties, including the CPN-M, Ai suggested Nepal's actors together frame the constitution, and that China wanted a politically stable and economically prosperous "independent" Nepal.

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