By Gopal Khanal (KATHMANDU, 23 August 2020) – Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had simultaneously been fighting against the domestic and external adversaries by keeping national interest at centre. He faced encirclement from his own ‘friends’ within the party but didn’t budge from his mission of heralding an era of political stability in Nepal. Prime Minister Oli’s greatest contribution to the nation is his conviction not to betray the people, be it during the blockade or the ongoing fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.
Oli’s domestic antagonists are his own party colleagues, who have been covertly and overtly weaving a design to unseat him from both the positions – PM and part chair. And some western forces together with those in power corridors of India have been trying to prepare henchmen within the party to meet this mission.
Both sorts of elements had nurtured fear that they could not play their crucial role until Oli was at the helm of government. The circumstances that developed in past three months especially following the issuance of the Nepal’s updated map on 20 May provided enough ground to suspect the tacit alliances against Prime Minister Oli.
Let’s look at the two major developments.
When the Prime Minister and the people were fighting against the COVID-19, former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal suddenly hardened their position and declared war against Oli. They chose a wrong time since sanity doesn’t allow such intra-party feud at the time of pandemic, which instead demanded consolidated strength and unity of party to effectively contain the virus spread.
The ill-timed bid finally fell flat on their faces. After three months of internal wrangling that generated utter animosity and hatred feelings among the leaders, the two chairmen agreed to resolve the dispute, thanks to PM Oli’s confidence and determination for the solution of party crisis.
On 12 August Prime Minister Oli, in an interview, said that the intra-party struggle will be settled within five days and the countdown started from the same day. On 13 August, the chairmen duo held four-hour-long meeting breaking the weeklong deadlock on a very positive note. They discussed the draft proposal prepared by general secretary Bishnu Paudel. It was based on the 6-point proposal presented by vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam.
On 14 August, a taskforce was formed to sort out the party differences under the convenorship of general secretary Poudel with five other leaders representing the three factional groups. Party insiders have said the taskforce was formed just to formalise the agreement between the two chairmen who took a bold step to further strengthen the party by considering the need of communist government in Nepal. Prime Minister Oli will lead the government for the full five-year term in office with reshuffling of the cabinet while Prachanda will head the party as executive chairman.
It seems natural that the party should not interfere in the regular activities of the government while the latter should abide by the policies of the party. It was Oli, who took the lead to resolve the differences since he was never in confusion, and his sole mission was to translate the lofty motto of ‘ Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’ into reality.
On 15 August, Prime Minister Oli, in his first tweet, congratulated India’s Prime Minister Narenda Modi on the occasion of the Independence Day of India. An independence day of any country is a historic moment and is celebrated as national day with pride. On August 15, 1947 India became independent from the British rule with the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of people.
Then in the afternoon, Prime Minister Oli held telephone conversation with his Indian counterpart, recollecting the past meetings and sharing experiences in joint fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. On behalf of his government and Nepali people, Oli expressed gratitude to India for its generous support to Nepal in the battle against the coronavirus.
Similarly, both the Prime Ministers agreed to resolve the outstanding issues between the two countries through diplomatic negotiations. They didn’t touch upon border issue, as it was not appropriate time to discuss it. On 16 August, Nepal and India held a meeting of Oversight Mechanism through video conference under the co-chairmanship of Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi and Ambassador of India to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra.
During the meeting, discussions were held on the status of the implementation of the on-going projects under Nepal-India bilateral cooperation. Both the sides discussed the implementation of important projects such as the postal highway, cross-border railway, Arun-3 hydropower, petroleum pipeline, Pancheshwar Multipurpose Project, post-earthquake reconstruction, irrigation, power and transmission lines and ICP were discussed.
They underlined the need for expedited implementation of the bilateral projects. The mechanism was set up after the state visit to India by the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in September 2016 to oversee the implementation of bilateral projects and take necessary steps for their completion.
Once again Prime Minister Oli has demonstrated his uncompromising nature. He has faith in his own moral conscience. He is determined not to let the people down at any cost for they have put their trust in his leadership through the popular mandate. With the intra-party bickering settled, now Oli needs greater public support to fight pandemic and resulting economic recession.