By Gopal Khanal (KATHMANDU, 2 July 2020) – Faced with twin challenges– COVID-19 pandemic and cartographic war against India– the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has plunged into critical internal bickering. On 30 June, the core conflict led by co-chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda turned into consolidated enmity against Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli with the party’s senior ranks divided into two poles.
In an antagonistic mood, Prachanda first sought clarification from Prime Minister Oli on the latter’s statement that conspiracies were being hatched externally against him with domestic backing. Though not specified, Oli’s indication was towards the undercurrent move of a section of his party, which had been holding secret meetings aiming to topple the Oli government.
In the ongoing meeting of the party Standing Committee, Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Oli from both the positions saying Oli failed to effectively run the government and the party. They claimed Oli lost moral ground to lead the government and the party after the statement, which had undermined the sovereignty and domestic capability of the state. ”You have lost the moral ground to lead the government and the party after your recent remarks. It is time for you to step down from power to pave the way for others,” they said.
On 28 June, Prime Minister Oli had argued that forces within Nepal and India were conspiring to unseat him from the post of Prime Minister in an apparent bid to take revenge against his resolute move to endorse an updated map that includes Limpiyadhura, Kalapani and Lipulek encroached by India since 1962. He had made such remarks while addressing an event organised by Madan Bhandari Foundation to commemorate the leader’s 69th birth anniversary.
Prime Minister Oli has been saying that the party leaders including Prachanda and Nepal have never been supporting the government despite the historic accomplishment made for nation and people. In fact, the updated political map and a provision of 7 years to obtain citizenship for foreign women married to Nepali men are the historic moves.
None of the contemporary leaders of Nepal can challenge Oli’s nationalistic stature. He proved himself while protecting independence of Nepal and dignity of Nepali people in the very adverse situation of Indian blockade during his first premiership. He signed historic Transport and Transit (T&T) agreement with China, ending India’s monopoly on Nepal’s access for third country. He further elevated his nationalistic image during his ongoing second innings as the head of the government. Therefore, the argument that Oli failed to handle the government and party effectively holds no water. The arguments of his nemeses are simply unfounded and baseless. Prachanda and Nepal should appraise their tenures as Prime Minister and dare to compare their works with that of Oli. People can easily judge who is right and who is wrong.
Who actually has lost the morality should be the issue for public scrutiny. For this, all the Prime Ministers including of NCP, should sit for the public test. People would tell who has the moral height to lead the government and the party – whether Oli or Prachanda or Nepal or Khanal.
This is not the first time that Prachanda and some leaders asked Prime Minister to step down. Earlier, in the party secretariat meeting, they deployed all the strength to weaken Prime Minister Oli and asked him to choose one position – either Prime Minister or party chairman. At last, they backtracked from their stance and made peace with Oli. Again, they have raised the same agenda on the pretext of countering Oli’s latest remark by consolidating their factional strength. This cannot just be the coincidence to find commonality in reports of Delhi’s media and expression of some Nepali leaders. Time will tell the truth.
Oli has done nothing wrong to resign. Instead, he has boosted Nepal’s global image and restored the lost dignity of Nepali people.
The utmost contribution of NCP to the nation is the stable government ending the anomalies of the occurrences of nine months long governments, which was the major cause of political instability in Nepal. For the first time in Nepal’s democratic history, Nepali communists got nearly two-thirds majority and have been running the government. The overwhelming mandate has been given to effectively conduct the rule for full five years term.
Spirit of unification
The leaders should not forget the spirit of party unification and the commitment they made to the people. The NCP is hard-earned asset and people have high hope and expectations from the NCP and Oli government.
In February 2018, while signing the 7-point unification deal, Oli and Prachanda had said a new era of prosperity and good governance had begun in Nepal. The main motive of the unification was to lead the country towards socialism and economic prosperity with social justice. Until the goal is achieved, none can turn back. Oli, Prachanda and Nepal should learn the lessons. They should prove that the communists are not obsolete, but are game changers. Let’s embrace the right, discard the wrong.
This article first appeared in The Rising Nepal.