Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari prorogued the Parliament’s Budget Session on Thursday following a Cabinet meeting and her interaction with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, the Kathmandu Post reported.
This came amid significant backlash against Oli in his country after claiming that the Indian government and his political rivals were plotting to oust him from power. Ahead of the meeting, Oli held a one-on-one discussion with Bhandari about the situation. He also met former Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda), News18 reported.
Oli’s remark against India on June 28 came over a week after Nepal approved a bill to redraw the country’s map demarcating the Lipulekh mountain pass, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura – the area at the centre of the dispute between India and Nepal – under its territory. “Efforts are being made to remove me from power, but that will not succeed,” Oli said during an official gathering. “I have smelt undercurrent movements. There have been various kinds of activities in the embassies and hotels. If you listen to the news media from Delhi, you will get the gesture.”
The ruling Nepal Communist Party held its Standing Committee meeting on 30 June, ostensibly to discuss the government’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic. But three of the party’s top members, including its co-chair Dahal, requested that he resign as both prime minister and party chairman.
“Not only Dahal, all Standing Committee members who spoke today unequivocally demanded Oli’s resignation from both the party chair and the government saying that he cannot run both,” Jhala Nath Kanal, a former prime minister, said. “This ongoing Standing Committee will decide his fate.”
Dahal stated at the meeting that Oli’s claim about India and its political opponents having conspired was an attack on Nepal’s independence and right to self-determination. He added that if the allegations were valid, Oli would provide proof of an Indian plot to overthrow him, and summon New Delhi’s ambassador to Kathmandu.
“I had asked for your resignation as party chair and prime minister before the new map was endorsed,” Dahal said. “Such statements don’t suit you. You should step down.” On Wednesday, more party leaders demanded Oli’s resignation from both posts. Peshal Khatiwada, Leelamani Pokhrel and Matrika Yadav asked Oli to quit, while Yogesh Bhattarai and Nanda Kumar Prasain wanted him to change his working style.
Yadav claimed that Oli was “mentally, physically and ideologically unfit” to serve as prime minister and chairperson of the Nepal Communist Party. “Oli tried to defend himself by making statements that contradict diplomatic decorum, so we should not do more injustice to him by giving him more responsibility.”
The Standing Committee meeting continued on Thursday, The Himalayan Times reported. Oli, who had not attended the meeting on some days last week, remained absent.
In recent months, tensions on the border between Nepal and India have grown. India objected to Nepal’s attempt to include the Lipulekh Mountain Pass, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura in its territory and cautioned the country not to resort to any ‘artificial territorial claims extension. Nepal maintains that India has claimed the disputed region by building the Darchula-Lipulekh link road despite repeated objections. India, on the other hand, said that the road falls within its territory.