Remove me if you can: Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli challenges Prachanda

Wednesday 03rd March 2021 05:27 EST

Kathmandu: Nepal’s embattled PM K P Sharma Oli challenged the ruling Nepal Communist Party’s splinter faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda to remove him from the top post if he can.

Oli challenged the Prachanda-led faction to table a vote of no confidence motion and endorse that, My Republica paper reported. “K P Oli is still the parliamentary party leader of NCP. He is the party chairman as well as the PM,” Oli said. “If you have restored parliament, remove KP Oli from the prime ministerial post.” Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 after President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May10 at the recommendation of Oli.

A court last week annulled the Oli government’s “unconstitutional” decision and ordered the government to summon the House session within the next 13 days. “Remove me if you can. If I am ousted, I’ll emerge victorious with a two-thirds majority in the next election,” Oli said.

Nepal ruling party on verge of formal split

With the Nepal Supreme Court having reinstated the parliament, the door has opened to political deal-making in Kathmandu and the first step could see a formalising of the split in the Nepal Communist Party. The Prachanda-Madhav Nepal faction, opposed to PM Oli, not only commands more seats but sources said they may welcome breakaways from the Oli faction.

In addition, the rebels are reportedly talking to the Nepali Congress (under former PM Sher Bahadur Deuba) as well as the Baburam Bhattarai-led Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) to form a coalition, giving the prime minister slot to the NC which may suddenly find itself being wooed by both sides. Others in Kathmandu said the Oli faction may also be talking to the NC for the same reason. Foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali, spokesperson for the Oli faction, was quoted as saying that the government would accept the Supreme Court ruling. Significantly, there are no guarantees that Oli would actually resign. “A meeting of the House would also be called within 13 days,” Gyawali said. Nepal sources said Deuba was very keen to become PM again, so may be tempted to shop for the best deal from the two sides.

After their party meeting, Madhav Nepal was quoted by the Nepali media as saying, “We are for joining hands with the Congress, Janata Samajbadi Party and other forces that are against Oli’s regression. We have to form a coalition government. We told Deuba that let’s join hands.” The Prachanda-Madhav Nepal faction controls 90 seats in the reinstated Parliament while the Nepali Congress has 61 and the JSP 32. The Oli faction, on the other hand, has 83 members.

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