Given the current political power struggle in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s choice is narrowing down and only way for him to escape from the crisis is to choose the least dangerous one or to retain the glory.
As the rift in the ruling NCP has further intensified, Prime Minister Oli and his rivals led by co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalnath Khanal, among others, are preparing a strategy for final show down.
At a time when PM Oli is insisting to hold the convention before taking any major decision including his resignation, Prachanda, Nepal, Khanal and Gautam had been pressing on him to resign either from party chair or prime minister.
Prachanda-led group is demanding PM Oli should give up one post of either prime minister or party chair as a basis to end the party’s current dispute. However, Prime Minister Oli has opposed it.
Unlike in the past, there is no other national issue before PM Oli now. His choice is narrowing. With minority in parliamentary committee and standing committee, PM Oli’s only political weapon is to go to president and seek fresh poll in November.
Although President Bidya Bhandari has soft corners towards PM Oli, she has constitutional limitations. Given the growing disputes in the party, PM Oli may push her to accept his decision to call fresh polls.
Despite portraying the meeting as an off-the-record meeting, President Bhandari recently met with 25 editors of different newspapers and had a political message to give. Talking with the guards of off the record, president Bhandari expressed her displeasure over the recent media coverage on her meeting with Prime Minister and Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
For the last four months, it was a hay day in politics for Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s survival in power. He was able to preempt his rivals’ move one after another thanks to Kalapani, COVID-19 and flood and landslides.
Taking a stand on publication and incorporation of new map through two thirds majority in the parliament, PM Oli was able to press his opponents in the party and outside to stand behind him.
His off the cuff and undiplomatic remarks against India have also made him popular among the party’s cadres who were groomed with anti-Indian schooling. For the sake of remaining in power, PM Oli has issued all kinds of statements and tactics.
Even recently, he proposed to hold the unity convention of the party in November and tried to lure co-chair Prachanda in his fold. Given PM Oli’s behavior, Prachanda did budge to him.
PM Oli, who is gradually isolated in the party, has also tried to forge alliance with the leader of main opposition Sher Bhadur Deuba. In case of major differences within the party, PM Oli has sought help of NC Deuba to forge a new coalition. If one does not visualize the unavoidable scenario before him or her, he or she will be doomed to lose the political power. As his opponents are solidly united, PM Oli has very limited options.