Kathmandu: On Saturday, five former prime ministers–Sher Bahadur Deuba, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal, and Baburam Bhattarai–issued a statement which accused the incumbent PM KP Sharma Oli of betraying the federal democratic republic and rule of law of the country. Of late, the opposition is making its move to topple Oli down from his post. Former PMs’ statement comes at a time when PM Oli appears to be losing his influence and grip in national politics–from provinces to the federal sphere.
What’s in the statement?
The statement attacks most recent moves taken by the Oli government–from House dissolution to failure to vaccinate the people to plans to export stones and aggregates by destroying Chure and many others. Here are the highlights:
- PM KP Oli has been repeatedly attacking the Constitution of Nepal. PM has displayed the tyrannous and regressive character by dissolving the House for the second time, even after the Supreme Court had issued a verdict terming the first dissolution as unconstitutional.
- KP Oli has made the vaccine campaign against Covid-19 a publicity stunt. A situation has been developed in which many people will be deprived of the second doses of the vaccines, even if they already have taken the first jab.
- Oli and the institutions close to him have protected and patronized corruption and the works that defy the rule and law.
- The decision regarding the excavation of the Chure and Mahabharat hills is like selling the ashes by burning one’s own home.
- Everyone should stand up against the attacks on the constitutional system, rule of law and basic principles and values of democracy.
- The caretaker government is not allowed to do anything or direct others to do anything that would have a long-term impact on the country and people.
- The administration and security agencies should not support the wrong activities [by the government].
- We, Nepalis, should solely decide on internal affairs. We appeal all to be cautious about covert and overt interference or engagement of external forces and power centers affecting Nepal’s internal politics.
Why does it matter?
Some leaders have long been emphasizing the need to develop a strong alliance of opposition parties in the country. The idea had not materialized largely because of the reluctance of Nepali Congress. With the joint statement on Saturday, NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba gave a message that he will now lead the opposition alliance against the KP Oli-led government.
The statement issued by five former prime ministers also indicates a strong consensus among the opposition parties against the acts of KP Oli, even though the apex court is yet to resolve the cases against the unconstitutional moves of Oli such as House dissolution.
The political scenario is divided into two factions: With Oli and against Oli. Saturday’s statement reflects their courage to stand firmly against Oli.
Next, it indicates that the opposition will not tolerate the unconstitutional moves of the government. KP Oli had earlier felt that there would be no strong opposition against him. But his diminishing control in the provinces and opposition alliance showing up with such a statement indicate the opposition is becoming stranger every day.
Similarly, the statement of the five prime ministers signifies the polarization in the current political landscape of Nepal. The political scenario is divided into two factions: With Oli and against Oli. Saturday’s statement reflects their courage to stand firmly against Oli.
Most importantly, they appealed to the country’s bureaucracy and security agencies not to support the government’s wrong activities, at a time when bureaucracy and other government agencies are blamed for acting at the behest of some ruling parties’ powerful leaders, subverting the laws of the country. This appeal has indicated that the opposition leaders have felt the need to challenge the bureaucracy and security agencies, which seem to be the silent supporters of a series of unconstitutional and unlawful acts by the government.
Lastly, the statement has raised questions on Oli’s ‘nationalist’ image. By using the word ‘external influence and engagement’, former PMs have sent the message to the people that Oli might have been working at the behest of external forces and power centers, which is why he must be resisted.