Record of new low in Nepali politics: Leaders are fighting for power, people are dying without oxygen

Nishan Khatiwada

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Today political leaders worked extra hours for a power struggle. As the president’s given deadline to claim a majority government was expiring at 9 pm today, caretaker  Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli used all tricks and means to ensure that he would not be unseated. Likewise, his opponents, Nepali Congress and Maoist Center,  were making efforts to build a coalition against him. 

As the leaders were fighting for power, 214 Covid patients died largely due to lack of timely treatment, as hospitals across the country have run out of lifesaving oxygen and vital medicines.  A total of 8960 people have been infected with this deadly disease while the health system has collapsed. 

Here is a summary of what Prime Minister and other leaders were doing as the people were dying: 

Today at a glance

– KP Sharma Oli spent his time negotiating to bring the disgruntled Madhab Nepal faction to his favor. In the early morning, a Standing Committee of UML decided to revoke the suspension of four Nepal faction leaders – Madhav Kumar Nepal, Bhim Rawal, Surendra Pandey and Ghanashyam Bhusal – backtracking from its own decision made six months ago.  This clearly shows the Standing committee either took action for no reason or was acting on KP Oli’s behest. KP Oli had a telephone conversation with Madhav Nepal first then they met in a businessman’s private residence in Chapali, Budhanilkantha. 

–  Opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba and Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal tried to bring majority support in their favor to form a new government. Prachanda reached Budhanilkantha to meet Deuba. CPN Maoist Center called a Standing Committee’s meeting after their meeting. Nepali Congress also held a separate meeting with its office bearers.

–  JSPN leaders duo Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato went the extra mile. They kept the MPs of their faction in a resort of Bhaktapur throughout the day, flouting the lockdown rules.  Apparently, this was done in a bid to ensure that none of those MPs stood against Thakur-Mahato’s decision to support Oli. They also met NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba in his residence.

– Thakur and Mahato also conducted meetings with CPN Maoist leaders and went to Baluwatar after the meeting in Paris Danda. 

What’s the result?

Oli prevailed in UML. Nepali Congress and Maoist Center failed to make a coalition. Oli again appeared dominating the position. The opposition decided not to claim for an alternative government at last.

No accountability. No reassurance. For general people, today remained the day of futile political exercises for power struggle

The outcome of all the sound and fury of the day is nothing for the people. People died. Hospitals ran out of oxygen, ICU beds and ventilators. There was not a word of reassurance from any of the leaders mentioned above. Amid this, KP Oli is being reappointed as PM. 

What’s next? Continuity of the incompetence 

KP Oli is going to become the prime minister again, even though as many as 124 lawmakers voted against him in parliament on May 10 and he lost the confidence vote. The President has already started preparing to reappoint him the minority prime minister as of this writing.

A leader whose three years rule was marked by corruption scandals, intolerance to criticism, and controversies is here to stay as the PM. 

No accountability. No reassurance. For general people, today remained the day of futile political exercises for power struggle.