Nepal's political fiasco remains underway

Updated: Jul 12, 2020


On Friday, the Nepal Government banned Indian News Channels except for Doordarshan as it accuses India of spreading “Baseless Propaganda”. It all started with Nepal’s intention to include Lipulekh in its own territory. However, apart from its ongoing tensions with India, things are likely to worsen for Nepal as its ruling party is set to face a political split.

The ruling Nepal Communist Party is facing a political turmoil as its two leaders, Prime Minister K P Sharma and Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, are at war with one another. Later this Friday, a crucial meeting of the NCP’s Standing Committee was postponed again till next week. This meeting has been postponed for the fifth time as the leaders fail to sort out their differences.

Why are the two leaders having a fight?

Conversation on a political agenda

Prachanda, the former Prime Minister, wants K P Sharma to step down due to his working style and political differences between the two. His recent anti-India remarks have also seemed to make things worse for the Prime Minister. While K P Sharma has refused to step down stating that he holds the people’s mandate, Prachanda wants to share power.

According to India Today,

“Prachanda, Madhav Nepal, Khanal and former deputy prime minister Bamdev Gautam are all seeking a bigger role in the party, and by extension, the government”.

There has been political turmoil between the two leaders for a very long time. Oli tried to deviate the opposition by creating a ‘Nationalist’ narrative and including the Indian Territory under Nepal.

The turmoil further escalated when the prime minister unilaterally decided to prorogue the budget session and due to his response in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. He has taken many decisions bypassing the Party and has made others unhappy.

Protests across Nepal

The two leaders had an agreement of not having any protests or demonstrations over the political turmoil. However, there were seven demonstrations in Sharma’s support. This has further worsened the situation in Nepal.

China’s interference

Intervention of China

China’s ambassador Hou has been in constant touch with the senior leaders of the NCP including Madhav Nepal. China has taken lead in mediating the talks between the two on a power-sharing deal going on between Oli and the rival groups led by Prachand. Many political parties have seen this as interference of China in the internal political affairs of Nepal. This comes at a time when China is already trying to reset its border and has been using its power to influence the non surrogate neighbors of China. China has also been accused of instigating Nepal against India for its own geopolitical advantage.

Why Oli has been blaming India?

Back in 2006, Prachanda and India were a key figure in bringing down the insurgency. Oli’s decision on including Indian territory in Nepal has worsened the ties between the two countries. Oli has shifted the blame to India.

Oli reportedly said in a program -

“The activity in Delhi, a certain section of politics in Nepal and their collaboration is meant to dislodge me for my stance on the border dispute. Nobody should think they will succeed in dislodging me.”

The 2 prime ministers shaking hands

The postponement of the Standing Committee is basically for Prime Minister Oli to seek more time and convince the NCP’s 45 member Standing Committee. Meanwhile many believe that the meeting is unlikely to take place as the opposition wants Oli to resign as Prime Minister.

The political fiasco in Nepal is set to make a difference in the geopolitics of South Asia as Nepal shares its border with two giant countries - India and China.

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