NATIONAL

India for early polls in Nepal

NEW DELHI Oct. 5. India said today that elections should be held as early as possible in Nepal and that the current crisis in the kingdom should be resolved soon within the constitutional framework.

In a statement, the Foreign Office spokeswoman said: ``It is unfortunate that elections in Nepal have had to be postponed. The present crisis, the origins of which are well known, has been developing over some time.''

New Delhi hoped that a solution to the crisis within constitutional parameters would pave the way for ``elections at the earliest and the installation of a democratically-elected government in the interest of peace, stability and development in Nepal''.

``Any interim arrangement should be based on consultation and consensus,'' she said, making it clear that India supported the democratic path in Nepal. ``The present crisis, the origins of which are well-known, has been developing over some time. Last week, the Nepalese political parties came to the conclusion that elections could not be held in the present circumstances and would have to be deferred,'' she said in a statement.

``India has always believed that there are two pillars for stability in Nepal — multi-party democracy and constitutional monarchy and both these pillars should remain strong,'' the statement added.

Though there is no direct reference to the ``removal'' of the Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, by King Gyanendra, New Delhi's concerns have been made plain — that democracy and elections are the solution to Nepal's political crisis.

According to sources, the King reportedly consulted the Chinese and American Ambassadors in Kathmandu before sacking the Prime Minister.

New envoy

At present, there is no Indian Ambassador in Nepal. Shyam Saran, the new envoy, will be taking position in Kathmandu shortly.

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