Political crisis continues unabated in Nepal with Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli meeting President B.D. Bhandari to ostensibly discuss the implementation of health emergency in the country to contain the spread of Covid-19 infection in the Himalayan nation. The declaration of health emergency will also give respite to the Prime Minister who is facing staunch opposition within his own party for lop-sided foreign policy.
According to sources, President Bhandari was non-committal towards the imposition of health emergency. Instead asked the PM to ensure that political differences between leaders are settled through discussions. The powerful Nepalese Army is also not in favour of deploying troops for health emergency.
While PM Oli is again scheduled to meet Nepalese Communist Party Co-Chairman P.K. Dahal today to resolve political differences, the former has made it very clear that he will not put in his papers under any circumstances even if it leads to splitting of the party. The two NCP Co-Chairs had more than two hours of discussions yesterday but without any result. A meeting of the standing committee of the party is scheduled tomorrow with majority of members against PM Oli but the passing of any resolution requires signatures of both Oli and Dahal. In case the resolution passes through the standing committee, it goes to central committee, where again PM Oli supporters are in a minority.
While the “galla (war chest) and gaddi (power)” games are on in Kathmandu, adding to fuel to fire is the Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi who is putting pressure on NCP leaders to settle their differences towards a status quo. One of the senior most NCP leaders in a meeting with Hou asked her whether the Chinese Communist party would allow dissensions against PM Oli in the party simmer or it would lead to action. He made it very clear to her that the NCP would remain strong even without PM Oli.
Hou’s actions in Kathmandu, which go beyond the diplomatic brief, have invited serious criticism in Nepalese independent media as it clearly shows the depth of Chinese penetration in the Himalayan Kingdom. Even though the NCP party proclaims to follow Mao’s ideology in the past, majority of their leaders are democrats at heart and firm believers in Hindu rituals.
It is because of the Chinese power play in Kathmandu and PM Oli’s political ambitions, political crisis will continue in Nepal. It is loss of power not spread of coronavirus that is of main concern of PM Oli now.