Former PM Pushpa ‘Prachanda’ Dahal back in action: Nepal crisis continues

Dahal-Nepal faction of Nepal communist party appointed former PM Pushpa ‘Prachanda’ Dahal as party’s new parliamentary party leader

Nepal’s president dissolved Parliament on Sunday 20th Dec after the Prime Minister K. P. Sharma Oli recommended the move amid an escalating feud within his Communist Party that is likely to push the Nepal into a political crisis. On Wednesday 23rd Dec, Dahal-Nepal faction of Nepal communist party removed oli and appointed former PM Pushpa ‘Prachanda’ Dahal as party’s new parliamentary party leader. Madhab Kumar Nepal has been elected as the party’s new chairperson. Almost two years ago Nepal’s two major left parties joined hands to form the Nepal Communist Party.

Parliamentary elections will be held on April 30 and May 10, according to a statement from President Bidya Devi Bhandari's office. The opposition has repeatedly accused Oli's government of corruption and his administration has faced criticism over its handling of the coronavirus. The number of virus cases in Nepal has reached 243,184, including 1,777 deaths. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli asked for the legislative body to be dissolved so he wouldn't have to step down in favour of a rival according to the political agreement that formed the current government in 2017, bringing the country to the brink of a constitutional crisis.Two communist parties merged with the understanding that the leaders would change places as prime minister after two-and-half years. Oli, however, has been reluctant to step aside, leading to a rift in the party.

On Sunday morning, dozens of ruling party lawmakers moved to file a vote of no confidence against Oli. Nepalese students affiliated with Nepal Student Union burn an effigy of Nepal Prime Minister Oli. The country is in the midst of an economic crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. A recent World Bank projection studied the country’s economy would grow by less than 1 percent in 2021.

Dissolution of the House also happened earlier in Nepal, but this is the first such instance after the new Constitution of 2015 that places safeguards against dissolution. “The new constitution does not envisage such a step without exploring formation of an alternative government,” said Dr Bhimarjun Acharya, a leading constitutional lawyer. The 1991 Constitution, scrapped in 2006, had provisions for dissolution of Parliament at the Prime Minister’s prerogative. During the time it was in force, Parliament was dissolved thrice. The first Parliament elected in 1991 was dissolved on the recommendation of Prime Minister G P Koirala after he failed to have a vote on thanks motion by the King passed in the House. The Supreme Court upheld that dissolution. But in 1995, the Supreme Court rejected the dissolution by Prime Minister Manmohan Adhikary after a no-trust motion had been tabled but before the loss of majority was proved. The court held that the executive did not have the right to snatch an issue under consideration of the legislature. The third time, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba dissolved Parliament in 2002 and the Supreme Court upheld it. King Gyanendra revived Parliament in April 2006.

How Nepal’s political crisis affect South Asian Politics

Oli also has been accused of moving closer to China and shifting away from Nepal's traditional partner India since taking over power. This has caused problems between Nepal and India. Nepal which sandwiched between has been moving close towards China ignoring India and thus creates a rift. Also India faced constant threat from neighbouring country of Pakistan due to ceasefire violation, repeated terror attacks on border. India also recently scrapped Article 370 which gives special provision to Kashmir and made Ladakh and Kashmir two Union territories. The rise of extremists and separatists backed by Pakistan led problem in erstwhile state of J&K. On the other hand India faced threat of illegal migrants from Bangladesh. If the buffer state of Nepal goes in the hand of Chinese influence there led to many problem in India’s security.

Inner Party Conflict

PM Oli accused India on July 2020 and said, “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.” In his reply other communist leader Pushpa ‘Prachanda’ Dahal said at that time, “It was a mistake on my part to have given up on the turn-by-turn Prime Minister agreement.”
In 2006 when Nepal’s political crisis ended in a peace process with New Delhi’s mediation then Oli was not happy about the transition from a Hindu kingdom to a secular-federal republic when Prachanda widely emerged as the hero of Nepal.  

Ankita Chakraborty

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