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External Affairs

Nepal's Political Crisis Is Their 'Internal Matter': MEA

On Sunday, Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House of Representatives on the advice of Prime Minister K.P. Oli, who claimed that he had lost majority within the ruling party, NCP.

New Delhi: India remains on a wait-and-watch mode with regards to Nepal, where the dissolution of the lower house of parliament is still churning political waters, while Chinese ambassador goes on active mode in meeting with top Nepali politicians.

On Sunday, Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House of Representatives on the advice of Prime Minister K.P. Oli, who claimed that he had lost majority within the ruling party, Nepal Communist Party (NCP). The next elections will be held in March-April 2021 less than three years after the communist electoral alliance got a majority in the polls.

After four days of silence, India issued a cautious first reaction on Thursday that the events were a domestic affair of the Himalayan nation.

“We have noted the recent political development in Nepal. These are internal matters for Nepal to decide as per its democratic processes. As a neighbour and well-wisher, India will continue to support Nepal and its people in moving forward on the path of peace, prosperity and development,” said Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava at the weekly online briefing on Thursday.

Oli’s decision to go for snap elections was a result of a long-standing conflict with Pushpa ‘Prachanda’ Kamal Dahal over power-sharing in the party. It stemmed from the merger of Oli’s CPN-UML and Prachanda’s CPN (Maoist Centre) to form the NCP after the 2017 victory.

There have been reports that Oli’s decision to recommend dissolution was triggered after he got to know about plans by Prachanda and his supporters to bring a “no-confidence motion” against him during the upcoming session of the House.

Street protests have already erupted against the actions of Oli, with critics pointing out that the Constitution does not have clear-cut provisions for disbanding the house.

Also read: Nepal’s Constitution Is in Danger as Oli Moves Closer to Authoritarianism

All eyes will be on Nepal’s supreme court on Friday when the constitutional bench will meet for the first time to hear 13 writ petitions filed against the decision to dissolve the House of Representatives.

While India issued a response, China Nepal’s second giant neighbour has remained silent.

However, Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yanqi, has been rather active in the past few days. She had already met with the Nepal President Bhandari on Tuesday. Two days later, she called on Prachanda for discussions on “contemporary political developments”, according to Kathmandu Post.

It is widely believed that Beijing has been the key actor in the political merger which led to the formation of NCP.

The Chinese envoy had also held a flurry of widely reported meetings with leaders of various factions of the ruling party in May and July, whenever internal disputes reached a crisis point.

The party is already on its way to formally split after the two factions held separate meetings of the central committee. The Prachanda-led faction’s central committee has removed Oli from the post of party chairman and parliamentary leader, while Oli supporters announced a plan for a general convention next year.

In another round of meeting of central committees of the two camps, the Oli faction removed powers of Prachanda as executive chairman.

Both sides have also approached the Election Commission to be recognised as the official NCP, which will allow them to use the election symbol.