Prime Minister’s Constitutional Coup: Nepal Heading to People’s Movement III

TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 22 Feb 2021

Prof Bishnu Pathak – TRANSCEND Media Service

www.itbhuglobal.org

Abstract

21 Feb 2021 – In the recent context of Nepal where Prime Minister K P Oli has dissolved the Parliament over a dispute within the party, this paper is prepared as a review of the political situation of Nepal, as requested by TRANSCEND Media Service, Global Harmony Association, Worldwide Peace Organization, Association of World Citizens, Nobel Peace Prize Watch among other international organizations. The objectives of the article are fourfold:

  1.  to find out the axiomatic truths and PM Oli’s wrongdoings committed in the past;
  2. to share cause and effect relationships after the dissolution of the Parliament;
  3.  to examine the past steps of the Communist Party and its leaders having transparency, accountability and honesty towards the nation-people; and
  4. to forecast the future course having the suffering of people.

This state-of-the-art paper is prepared based on personal experiences, participant observation, literature review, and exchanging and sharing approaches rather than on theoretical conceptions.

While the most powerful government formed in Nepal’s history failed to deliver and fulfill its commitments to people, PM Oli dissolved the Federal House of Representatives (HoR) in less than three years of his works alleging his own party for no cooperating with him. Not only was this unconstitutional and Machiavellian – as it was protested by every professions and from each corner of the State, but his move was also challenged at the Supreme Court. Oli’s current Deputy and even his Attorney General stated that the PM had no right of dissolution. Despite being the Caretaker Government, the Speaker of the HoR himself filed a petition against the Chief Justice, Prime Minister and the President over the appointments made in the Constitutional Council recently, influencing even the Chief Justice.

 There is frustration and anger among the people against such PM Oli’s Constitutional Coup. Now, everyone is worried whether some conspiratorial assassinations takes place in Nepal much like the past conspiratorial assassination of Madan Bhandari. Owing to insecurity, the author of this article is being advised by friends and well-wishers including security officials for not to speak on Radio, Television and write an article against the association of PM Oli with Bhandari in the past.

If the Supreme Court does not reinstate the Parliament, the country will not be able to hold elections, too. In such a situation, the country will head towards the people’s movement III which shall cause chaos and bloodshed, huge loss of lives and properties.

Introduction

The nearly two-thirds majority holding Communist Government led by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli when failed to fulfil and deliver constitutional rights ‘basic needs as the basic rights to the people’ recommended to dissolve the Federal House of Representatives on December 20, 2020, in less than three years’ of its five years’ tenure. President Bidhya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House and announced mid-term polls for April 30 and May 10, 2021, opening all cupboards of Machiavellian Treachery in newly established Federal Republican politics in Nepal. Oli did not even discuss the dissolution of the parliament with his own ministers. The House dissolution raised enormous questions on constitutional, political, moral, mental and ethical integrity on the part of the parliamentary system of government and nemesis of present political leaders. The nemesis is no less than a political firebrand with dictatorial impulses. With this move, PM Oli pushed the country to another swampland of constitutional uncertainty, instability and political catastrophe that orchestrated a constitutional-political coup de grace on parliamentary democracy again in Nepal.

While PM Oli having been failed to meet the expectations of people and confined by a small selfish and greedy ‘coterie of cronies’ (Dhakal, 2020), he had, for quite some time, been encountering a legitimacy crisis within his own ruling party (Communist Party of Nepal or CPN) led by Puspa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal, the majority faction. They asked PM Oli for his resignation due to his poor governance, non-transparency and accountability, nepotism, favouritism, sycophancy and authoritarian impulses. Meanwhile, China appeared to mediate. In fact, China is in favour of a stable Government in Nepal which shall only protect anti-Tibetan activities in Nepal. Thus, China suggested PM Oli to leave his position on the course to enhance the stability of the Communist Government; however, he immediately moved away from China and has been bolstering his relations with India.

PM Oli is currently supported by one-third of CPN central committee members. Even in the disbanded parliament, he has only one-third of the Parliamentarians. That is why he is criticized from all corners: ranging from professions to classes and cities to villages. All political parties, civil society, human rights activists, media, students, former chief justices and judges among others are currently on the streets protesting against his Machiavellianism. The videos of what Oli’s Deputy Subash Newman and his Attorney General Agni Kharel had said have gone viral, in which they had said that the PM could not dissolve the parliament in the current situation. The international communities staying in Nepal are silent fearing that Oli Government can be aggressive towards them.

Many of the author’s foreign colleagues asked him to write an article briefly reviewing and updating Nepal’s suffering after the dissolution of the Parliament. A few of the organizations and main actors such as TRANSCEND Media Service-TMS (i.e., Chief Editor Dr. Antonio C. S. Rosa), Worldwide Peace Organization (i.e., Professor Maria Cristina Azcona and Professor Bruce L. Cook), Global Harmony Association (i.e., Professor Leo Semashko), Association of World Citizens (i.e., Professor Rene Wadlow), Nobel Peace Prize Watch (i.e., Professor Fredrik S. Heffermehl) among others are very much worried about the troubles Nepalese people are facing.

There are four objectives of this analysis: (i) to find out the axiomatic truths and PM Oli’s wrongdoings committed after the sudden recommendation to end the Parliament and subsequent dissolution by the President without discussing with Nepalese pertinent actors or organizations; (ii) to share cause and effect relationships that happened after the Oli’ move; (iii) to examine the past steps of the Communist Party and its leaders mainly by Oli having transparency, accountability and honesty towards the nation-people; and (iv) to forecast the possible future scenario which may indirectly (informal and formal) and directly (informal and formal) lead to further suffering of the poor people.

This state-of-the-art paper is prepared based on personal experiences, participant observation, literature review and exchanging and sharing approach rather than theoretical conception. The  analysis has been informed by what the author has seen, experienced and earned in more than three decades working in Nepal. As a result, this paper is basically a reflective and narrative account.

Establishment of the CPN

Formal rivals (i.e. two paries with opposite characters and ideologies), the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist and Leninist) or CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist Center) got unified with the new name of Communist Party of Nepal on May 17, 2018, eight months after the two parties made an initial agreement for a unified party. Both the communist parties endorsed the decision of the Party Unification Coordination Committee and declared unification officially. The unification agreed that there will have bi-chairman namely KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Other agreements were:

A nine-member Secretariat was formed comprising both Chairmen, Madhav Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Ishwor Pokharel, Ram Bahadur Thapa and Bishnu Poudel. Shrestha was appointed as a spokesperson and Poudel as the General Secretary. The Secretariat decided to form the Standing Committee, Politburo, Central Committee and party’s other public organizations. It had decided to have a 441-member Central Committee (241 members from the UML and 200 from the Maoist Center) and a 43-member Standing Committee (25 members from UML and 18 from Maoist Center). The CPN party committed to be guided by the Marxism-Leninism ideology. The official ideology of the party was to be finalized by the future General Assembly of the party.

On February 19, 2018, a seven-point agreement[1] was jointly signed by the Chairs of the CPN (UML) and CPN (MC) as guiding modalities of unification. Both the parties agreed to continue to discuss having the issues of ‘people’s multi-party democracy’ being pursued by the UML and ‘Maoism and 21st-century democracy’ being pursued by the Maoist Center. They made an agreement that the ideology of the party would be concluded by the Unity Party Convention.

On May 16, 2018, when Oli and Dahal announced the formation of the Nepal Communist Party, they had reached a gentleman’s agreement to lead the government in turn, two-and-a-half years by each. In the five-point agreement, the number 4 says, “Both the Chairpersons will lead the government based on equality and equal tenure.” But in November 21, 2019, both have another agreement in which Oli would lead the government for the full five-year term and Dahal would run the party as Executive Chairman. But, Oli intervened the Party too stating “I am the number one Chairman”. Finally, the tussle intensified and the CPN got informally split into two: Prachanda-Nepal faction and Oli group.

People’s Expectations

While providing the first opportunity for the CPN to form a stable Government for five years in the history of Nepal, the majority of voters felt that the Communist Government would respect the interests and sentiments of the people. The Government would genuinely transform the socio-economic structure of the State establishing the access of the general public to fulfil their basic needs of food, shelter, cloth and housing. Institutional restructure will be initiated to bring education, health, communication and public transport under the control and responsibility of the State. The Government would initiate the process of industrialization by assuming comparative and competitive gain following efficiency and capacity. For the successful completion of this campaign, it would focus on participatory economic development in general by formulating short-term, medium-term and long-term plans.

The commoners dreamed of increasing employment and self-employment that would ultimately establish national self-esteem and self-reliance instead of foreign dependency going abroad with an inferiority complex, starting from Nepalese airport to return home. It was not unnatural to expect this from the Communist Government. But even after three years, the government’s plans, policies, programmes, institution buildings, management and operations have not been translated into practice. On the one hand, the government was eroding the aspirations, trust and sentiments of the people, while on the other hand, the pressure was mounting within the party owing to this Government’s poor working styles.

Government Failures

Oli pursued a system of governance focusing on his small surrounding and ambitious selfish group rather than governing the country as a whole. Rather than choosing ramro (competent) and hamro (our), he prioritized to recruit mero (mine) person in all people-focused centres. To get out from the coterie of crony, PM Oli asked to tender the en-mass resignation of his private secretariat officials including advisors in November 2019. It was surprising that whoever Oli had desired to expel from the positions, such as political advisor, foreign advisor among others, due to their high-level pressure, even foreign intelligence agencies and strong coterial group-ism within the faction, Oli’s attempt went in vain. In the end, he was forced to fire honest junior-level employees only. This was just a small example of how Oli had been encircled to make him fail by his own-trusted officials.

Thus far, those who lost in the State Provincial elections have been appointed in ministerial post at the Federal Government, 32 people have been given responsibilities in the Constitutional Council ignoring constitution-mandated parliamentary hearing, 24 people have been appointed to the board of youth councils by ministerial decision, 231 communist cadres have been recruited first-class (joint secretary) and deputy secretary level positions in 77 districts (Mainali, February 10, 2021) by the Caretaker Government. In response, Secretary Tek Narayan Pandey of the Land Management Ministry stated that no qualifications and criteria are needed for such political appointments.

On June 30, 2018, the Eminent Person Group (EPG) had prepared a single report by consensus (Giri, July 1, 2018). Indian PM Modi is still reluctant to accept the report despite huge pressure from his own colleagues. There has been an allegation that before the submission of the EPG Report to PM Modi, a core part of it was delivered to China by Dr. Rajan Bhattarai, the Foreign Advisor of the PM of Nepal. While the same copy reached the table of Ajit Doval, current National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India. Therefore, the EPG Report has fallen into controversy. Indeed, the people’s trust in the current government is being lost due to the inability to implement federalism, complete the campaign to remove the syndicate, stop the process of sending workers to popular destinations of Nepali workers like Malaysia, make controversial decisions in diplomatic relations and control crime and corruption.

Transparency International report stated that Nepal has slipped four points down as compared to the last year and became the 117th corrupted country in the world (https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2020/index/npl). It indicates that corruption in Nepal is on the rise and rampant.

Not only he had suffered from sickness because of his kidney transplant 12years ago, but he also had a second kidney transplant last March 2020. Thereafter, he has not been able to join PM Office in Singh Durbar for 10 months and he has been conducting all affairs from his official residence in Baluwatar.

Other than that, he does not even say how much the kidney transplant and sickness costed and who paid them. During his mass meetings against the agitators of the House dissolution, banners with his photo can be seen all around. It seems he is more popular than the Queen of England, but the sources of those expenses are never disclosed.

Constitutional Provisions against the Dissolution

If the Prime Minister of the majority-holding Government does not feel comfortable with his duties or avoids the no-confidence motion in the House of Representatives, he has repeatedly dissolved the parliament and fixed the date of the forthcoming elections. That frequent dissolving of the House has not only brought instability in the country but has also led to the practice of an autocratic system in the absence of elections on time. To ban those existed practices in the past, the authority of majority-holding Government has been curtailed in the current Constitution 2015. The following rights and provisions speak about the formation of Prime Minister, guaranteed by the present Constitution.

  1. The President shall appoint the parliamentary party leader of the political party with the majority in the House of Representatives as a Prime Minister, and a Council of Ministers shall be formed in his/her chairmanship.
  2. If there is not a clear majority of any party according to clause (1), the President shall appoint as Prime Minister the member of the House of Representatives who can have the majority with the support of two or more political parties represented in the House of Representatives.
  3. If there is a situation wherein it is not possible to make the appointment of the Prime Minister as provided for in clause (2) within 30 days of the final result of the election of the House of Representatives, or if the appointed Prime Minister, as provided for in clause (4), fails to receive a vote of confidence, the President shall appoint the leader of the party with the highest number of members in the House of Representatives as the Prime Minister.
  4. The Prime Minister appointed according to clause (2) or (3) shall have to receive the vote of confidence of the House of Representatives within 30 days of his/her appointment.
  5. If a Prime Minister appointed according to clause (3) fails to receive a vote of confidence pursuant to clause (4), the President shall appoint a member as Prime Minister, who produces bases that he/she may win the vote of confidence of the House of Representatives as provided for in clause (2).
  6. The Prime Minister appointed according to clause (5) shall have to get the vote of confidence according to clause (4).
  7. If the Prime Minister appointed according to clause (5) fails to get the vote of confidence or if any member fails to be appointed as Prime Minister, the President shall, on the recommendation of Prime Minister, dissolve the House of Representatives and fix a date to conduct another election within six months.

Article 76 (7) does not appear to have fulfilled the present conditions it should have. PM Oli had to pave the way for another PM. Only then, if a new PM could not be appointed that would pave the way for recommending the dissolution as per 76 (7).

A dozen petitions challenging the constitutional legitimacy of the dissolution of the House of Representatives have been heard since January 6, 2021, on the Constitutional bench in the Supreme Court.  It is malfunctioning and unconstitutional to dissolve the Parliament based on infighting within the Communist Party of Nepal (minority-led Prime Minister Oli and a two-third majority holding Prachanda-Madhav Nepal factions). The rights of dissolution of the House by the Prime Minister stated grounds or reasons cannot be exercised. The Parliament can be dissolved if there is no possibility of forming another government from the Parliament. Since the Parliament is made up of representatives elected by the people through elections and the same Parliament has made the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister should be accountable to the Parliament.

On February 19, 2020, PM Oli himself appeared in the Sureme Court with his statement against the complaint alleging that PM Oli has defamed the Court’s hearing. But, the following day, PM Oli has challenged the Supreme Court (through a mass meeting) to face the consfrontation with his group if the Court reinstates the Parlaiment. In fact, PM Oli has sought the help of pro-Panchayati (former King favoured) lawyers as he has not even got democratic lawyers to argue the case in his favor in the Supreme Court. Four of the five amici curiae sent by Nepal Bar Association and Supreme Court debated in favor of establishing the parliament. Even four former Chief Justices have made their appeals publicly stating that the dissolution of the PM’s parliament is against the Constitution.

Appointments by the Caretaker Government

The Prime Minister has been politicized the nation badly. So far, the Election Commission has not been able to decide whether PM Oli or Prachanda-Nepal faction is the Official Party. From the constitutional and the legitimacy point of views, the Prachanda-Nepal faction of the CPN should be the Official Party of the CPN. However, the Election Commission has not been able to give the right decision as the authority of the Commission is loyal to PM Oli. There is no basis to give official party to Oli, but the Election Commission does not want to deliver official party to Prachanda-Nepal side.

Within hours of the Ordinance being issued to reach its quorum even in the Constitutional Council, only the Chief Justice and the Chairperson of the National Assembly were secretly convened and 38 parties’ cadres were recommended to the Constitutional Commissions. Regarding the provision relating to the Constitutional Council, Article 284 of the Constitution 2015 says “(1) There shall be a Constitutional Council for making a recommendation following this constitution for the appointment of Chief Justice, the chief and officials of constitutional bodies, consisting of Chairperson and members as follows: (a) Prime Minister – Chairperson (b) Chief Justice – Member (c) Speaker of the House of Representatives – Member (d) Chairperson of National Assembly – Member (e) Leader from the Opposition Party in House of Representatives – Member (f) Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives – Member”. At the meeting, three members such as Speaker of the House of Representatives, Leader from the Opposition Party in House of Representatives and Deputy Speaker of House of Representatives were absent. Moreover, as the Parliament itself had been dissolved by the PM, the nominees could not be heard by the Parliamentary Committee.

In Regards of Provision relating to Parliamentary Hearing, Article 292 of the Constitution states, “Before the appointment, Chief Justice, Justice of the Supreme Court, members of Judicial Council, Head or official of Constitutional bodies and ambassadors who are appointed on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council, there shall be a parliamentary hearing, in accordance with this constitution”.

Making a mockery of the rule of law and the powers of the Parliament, Caretaker PM Oli appointed his cadres in the Commission and administered the oath of office by the President on February 5, 2021.  The swearing-in ceremony was boycotted by the Vice President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

On February 5, the Speaker of the House of Representatives Agni Prasad Sapkota filed a writ petition at the Supreme Court against the recent constitutional bodies’ appointments against the President’s and Prime Minister’s Offices, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and 36 others. The CPN Prachanda-Madhav faction organized a general strike across the country on February 5 on the course to protest against such appointments in the constitutional bodies by the Caretaker Government.

Role of Two Giant Neighbours

China has made a lot of efforts to unite the CPN even after the dissolution of the House. A Chinese high-level delegation led by the Vice-Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Guo Yezhou visited Nepal and met with all the pertinent leaders and parties at the end of December 2020. China tried hard to bring the two factions of the NCP together and enhance Nepal China cooperation. The Economic Times writes, “China’s political profile in Nepal has been on the rise in the recent years with billions of dollars of investments under Beijing’s multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), including the building of the Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network” (The Economic Times, December 26, 2020).

The visit from China, the northern neighbour of Nepal comes on the heels of a vertical split in the CPN which was united with a lot of efforts of its in May 2018. A same Chinese delegation led by Gou had visited Nepal in February 2018 to unite both communist parties (Giri, December 28, 2020). In September 2019, the Nepal Communist Party first time held a two-day symposium, where Chinese Communist Party leaders were invited to share the Xi Jinping thought. Anil writes that China has invested huge efforts for a unified party and stability in Nepal (December 28, 2020). China had held a series of meetings with the CPN leaders when they were wrangling. China suggested PM Oli pave the way for the country and its people resigning if relations within the party deteriorate.

On the other, while Narendra Modi became PM in India, the Nepo-India relationship has not been limited to soft diplomacy as before. When PM Modi made S. Jaishankar his special emissary and sent Nepal in September 2015 for not to promulgate the Constitution, Nepal issued the constitution within a few days. Furious India imposed a blockade on Nepal. Opposing India’s move, the then PM Oli signed the Transportation Treaty improving relations with China. In the end, India was forced to bow down and withdraw from the lockdown.

On May 8, 2020, while Indian Defense Minister, Rajnath Singh, inaugurated an 80 km (50 miles) newly constructed Lipulekh Pass (Ethirajan, June 10, 2020) link road to Mt. Kailash Mansarovar (the most sacred Mountain for the religions of Buddhist and Hindu, situated in Tibet) Route Yatra to reduce travel time for the Indian Hindu pilgrims. Then the bitterness with India increased while Nepal claimed that Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani are the integral parts of Nepal.

Despite the deteriorating Nepo-India relations, PM Oli was welcomed by India as soon as he left the Chinese lobby. India is always careful not to allow any ruler of Nepal to lean towards China.

Within a month of 2020, three high-level delegations namely RAW Chief Samant Goel on October 29, 2020, Army Chief General Manoj Mukunda Naravane on November 4, 2020, and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on November 26, 2020, were visited in Nepal.

PM Oli followed their suggestions that resulted in a dissolve of the House of Representatives. India never wants Nepal’s communists to be powerful. Thus, the Constitution which was drafted by the Constituent Assembly started to drill a hole in its federal, republican, inclusive and secular State. The Constituent Assembly was established as a product of 70 years of people’s struggle.

Memory Matters: Assassination of Madan Bhandari

Criminalization in politics is widely practised in Nepal. Madan Kumar Bhandari commonly known as Madan Bhandari had been a popular General Secretary of the CPN (UML), a democratic communist party in Nepal. Bhandari had been an architect of ‘People’s Multi-party Democracy’ that had been continued till the existence of the UML. He had mysteriously assassinated in a jeep accident in Dasdhunga, Chiwan district, on May 16, 1993, at the age of 41 years. He was married to Bidhya Devi Bhandari, the first female President in Nepal. The couple had two daughters which both are married. Among the three-people Bhandari and Jibaraj Ashrit (Chief of the Organization Department of the UML) and driver Amar Lama, only Lama survived. Initially, the UML leader Radha Krishna Mainali (Head of the Accounts Committee in the House of Representatives) decided to accompany Bhandari, but Ashrit joined later. There is no doubt that the murder was carried out in a grand design of foreign forces, but without the assistance, cooperation and support of Nepalese leaders, that assassination would not have been possible.

In the case of Bhandari’s assassination, some (indirect – informal and formal and direct – informal and formal) rumours are still being linked by the media with the current PM Oli. After all, why is Oli’s name always associated? First, while the author had been collecting documents and reviewing the communist movements in Nepal at the initial period of PhD in April 1994, PM Oli said, “The present UML’s principal thought ‘People’s Multi-party Democracy’ was shared by me when Madan Bhandari visited us to meet in Jail, but it could not be my creation as I had been in jail”. PM Oli started a career in party politics with the principle of first clear the offshoots before getting to cut a bamboo. Bisuddhi writes, “Immediately after the incident, an investigation was led by Police Inspector Kiran Kunwar. When he was about to discover the conceivable murder conspiracy, Kunwar quit the investigation after personal threats” (https://nepal.fm/report-reveals-madan-bhandari-assassination-mystery/).

Second, even such a mysterious killing, an Inquiry Committee was formed headed by the only one member PM Oli. And the report stated that it was not an accident, but a murder. Oli has been PM twice and the powerful Home Ministry once. Why Oli has not spoken a word having the assassination of Bhandari for so long. But, whenever Oli is out of power, he talks about having the investigation of Bhandari’s murder. Oli once stated that if he gets an opportunity to govern the Government, he will truly investigate the Bhandari’s killer.

Third, declaring mysterious murder, the UML Government formed after the agitation against the Nepali Congress Government, but the UML abruptly dropped the demand of Dasdhunga investigation, which was the main demand put forward against the Nepali Congress Government. Neither did the UML pursue an investigation into the alleged murder, nor did it attempt to take a single statement or interrogation from Amar Lama, who had been in prison.

Fourth, Bhandari was left for Kathmandu after concluding the party’s program in Pokhara, but assassinated in Chitwan. It is still a mystery why Bhandari left for Chitwan after the program in Pokhara. There had been raining heavily on that day on the one hand. On the other, the traffic to Chitwan-Mungling and Mungling-Chitwan was stopped for an hour. The then Home Minister had been Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba. Although Oli and Deuba are leaders of two opposite ideologies and characters of the parties, even though, their relationship is as close as twin brother for four decades.

Fifth, although the UML had accepted the Bhandari’s people’s multiparty democracy as the guiding principle of the party. However, the Madan Bhandari Foundation has been a personal property headed by the PM Oli alone. Bhandari’s wife Bidhya Devi is the two-time President of Nepal, neither she spoke having the murder of the Bhandari nor investigation team formed to dig out the truth. History has been a witness that when the current President was out of power, she time and again demanded to dig out her husband’s killer and judicially punished.

Sixth, the study so far has found that President Bidhya and her two daughters have never worked for the sake of the whole Communist Party, but have been a part of PM Oli only. Bidhya and Oli while meeting publicly, they bow down each other with gentle smiling. If Bidhya had pursued the same path as the first President Ram Baran Yadav of Nepali Congress from Tarai origin, she would be respected as Yadav and would not have been so much criticized and doubted among the populace. No matter how the people used to call undemocratic to the former King of Nepal, he had decided dissolution of the House of Representatives after two to three cooling days of consultations and discussions with pertinent institutions, stakeholders and actors. But, Bidhya dissolved the House of Representatives less than an hour immediately after the Oli’s recommendation. President Bidhya has been only a shadow of PM Oli rather than the protector of the Constitution and head of the nation and people.

Seventh, how can street-protestors use such a vulgar slogan as Bidhya timro sindhur khoi; K P Oli timro poi (President Bidhya where is your vermilion? PM K P Oli is your husband). Has Oli not forced the President to work only in his favour through fear, threat and coercion? Isn’t Bidhya scared to know the complex cycle of Madan Bhandari’s murder? It is to be remarkable that there had been a tough tussle between PM Oli and his wife Radhika Shakya having the issue of the closeness of Oli with Bidhya in the past.

Finally, the only surviving witness Amar Lama was assassinated in the Maoist style in Kirtipur on July 27, 2003. But when I asked the current Vice President Nanda Kishore Pun having the Lama’s murder in March 2008, he said, “We did not kill Amar Lama; he was killed by the killers of Bhandari themselves”. Rishi Kattel, who had travelled with late leader Bhandari from Pokhara to Anbu Khaireni in the same jeep stated, “he was disappointed with PM Oli and President Bidya Devi Bhandari for taking zero interest in the unsolved Dasdhunga murder” (https://nepalireporter.com/2019/05/255666). In criminology, the person who is most benefited after the mysterious assassination is directly or indirectly involved in the murder.

While the author visited Nepalgunj via Dasdhunga by jeep on June 1, 1993, to assist Professor Vitit Muntarbhorn, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, we observed the incident place. The road was wide enough and the author’s driver told him that there was no possibility to plunge the jeep into the Trishuli River from such easy a place. It means that Bhandari and Ashrit were killed somewhere else, kept them into the vehicle and it was pushed into the River.

The Commission headed by Padma Ratna Tuladhar formed at the grassroots level ruled out that the Bhandari’s incident was a conspiratorial murder. Madan Bhandari had been a powerful leader in Nepalese politics. Although he had been the General Secretary of the UML, he had emerged as a promising leader of the country. There was probably no one who did not praise the eloquent speaker Madan Bhandari. Congress leader BP Koirala and UML leader Madan Bhandari are still popular names in Nepalese politics.

Conclusion

China has been watching Nepal’s politics through the eyes of India with silent diplomacy for a long time. But, along with the launching of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has directly involved in Nepalese politics. Many of Nepal’s resources including large rivers are under the control of India. The main reason for this is that the inferiority complex persistently existing in Nepalese leaders. They have a feeling that there is no possibility to attain power and stay for a long time without making India happy. Recently, India has started micromanagement in Nepalese politics.

The anti-India sentiments are developing very rapidly in Nepal. This has made China easier to conduct its activities directly across the populace. India is more interested to control leaders and Government activities, but China wants to win the hearts and minds of the Nepali people. Moreover, India has always been in favour of instability, while China has been consistently supporting stability. While India wants to control the government and its leaders with fear psychology, China is in favour of stability as desired by the people. Therefore, as PM Oli’s current decision of dissolution of the House of Representatives is in line with India’s wishes and whispering, people have called his move a constitutional coup and condemn both inland and abroad. It means, India won and China defeated in Nepalese politics.

Not only PM Oli has even been able to influence the Supreme Court in many cases appointing his party workers as judges, he is also asking support from India to setting Judges in Supreme Court and Election Commission for his favour. But even if the Supreme Court accepts the dissolution of PM Oli, there is no conducive environment to to hold mid-polls on the stipulated time. It will take at least 120 days for the Election Commission to complete the elections, but only 70 days left to hold the first-step of elections for April 30. PM Oli is also threatening the authority of the Election Commission while  bureaucrats of the Election Commission does not support Oli’s unconstitutional move. If the Supreme Court gives a verdict in favour of the constitution and the people with impartiality, the restoration of the Parliament is inevitable. In both cases, PM Oli will retain his post.  However, Oli is likely to rule by imposing a state of emergency in Nepal. His constitutional coup will be written as a black day in history.

If the parliament is not reconstituted and the Election Commission does not recognize the Prachanda-Nepal faction as the Official Party of the CPN, Nepal is bound to fall into a fierce conflict, which is likely to lead to a People’s Movement III. If we look at the socio-political upheavals, at about each 10-year interval, Nepal has suffered either armed struggles or people’s movements in 100 years of Nepal. For examples: (1) Makai Parba (1920), (2) Prachanda Gorkha Episode (1931), (3) Praja Parishad-four martyrs (1940), (4) Anti-Rana People’s Movement (1950), (5) Ended multi-party Democracy imposing Panchayat System or Monocracy (1961), (6) Jhapa Uprising in the name to end ‘class enemy’ (1971), (7) Anti-Panchayat turmoil-the Referendum (1980-1981), (8) People’s Movement I (1990), (9) People’s War in its full swing across the country (2000) (Pathak, 2005), (10) People’s Movement II -Failure of the Constituent Assembly (2006-2009) and (11) People’s Movement III (2021). We have the world history that the change has taken place one after another owing to the autocratic government that had gone against the will of the people. PM Oli appears as a dictatorial ruler.

References:

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 NOTES:

[1] Unified Party to be called the Nepal Communist Party.

(ii) Marxism and Leninism will be the ideological stand of the Party.

(iii) Both parties agreed to hold on similar belief in establishing its supremacy through peaceful multi-party competition under the ‘People’s Multi-Party Democracy’ propagated by late UML leader Madan Bhandari.

(iv) Necessary modifications and developments can be made through proper discussions on the issues of ‘People’s Multi-Party Democracy’ being pursued by the CPN (Maoist) and ‘Maoism and Democracy of the 21st Century’ being pursued by the CPN (Maoist Center).

(v) Based on the above, the Interim Political Report and the Interim Constitution will be prepared and the Unified Party will be conducted accordingly.

(vi) Protecting and developing the achievements and strengthening the nationalism, democracy and social justice, the foundation of socialism will be laid through socio-economic transformation. And

(vii) The forthcoming Party Convention will be concluded in a grand manner with understanding as the Unity Convention.

_______________________________________________

A former Senior Commissioner at the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP), Professor Pathak has been a Nobel Peace prize nominee each year from 2013 for his noble finding of Peace-Conflict Lifecycle similar to ecosystem. Mr. Pathak holds Ph.D. on Conflict Transformation and Human Rights. He is the President and Director of the Peace and Conflict Studies Center (PSC Center). He is a Board Member of the TRANSCEND Peace University and also a Board Member of TRANSCEND International for Nepal. His book on Politics of People’s War and Human Rights in Nepal (2005) is widely circulated. He has over 100 international publications comprising Transitional Justices , Human Rights, UN, Human Security, Peace, Civil-Military Relations, Community Policing, and Federalism including: Generations of Transitional Justice in the World (Jul 2019); Jurisdictions of The Hague Court (Feb 2020); A Comparative Study of World’s Truth Commissions: From Madness to Hope (2017); World’s Disappearance Commissions: An Inhumanious Quest for Truth (2016); and Can Former Child Soldiers File a Complaint at the International Court against Nepal’s Maoist Leaders? (Sep 2020). He can be reached at ciedpnp@gmail.com.


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This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 22 Feb 2021.

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2 Responses to “Prime Minister’s Constitutional Coup: Nepal Heading to People’s Movement III”

  1. Dear Bishnu,

    Please correct the year in the introduction. It should be ” after the PM Oli dissolved the Federal House of Representatives on December 20, 2020. “

  2. Kedar Neupane says:

    Narrative does not talk about the total failures of the Communist Government which runs with majority stakes in the parliament. Surprising as it is, streets demonstrations are organized by the ruling communist government party, and less by unsuspecting population who watch the drama in dismay. It proves even having a parliamentary majority one party governance lacked stability and pathways development. What PM Oli did was certainly not consistent with the democratic norms and republican spirit. This is not surprising because there is not assurance from political leaders in Nepal they will not do it again. History is in evidence. The current constitution was written with communist majority and they themselves failed to respect be because this is third time similar situation occurred for they all new, at the time of adoption of the current egalitarian constitution is unimplementable in tires entirety, and that the communist party will run the government for decades (as stated by some senior communist leaders including PM Oli). This was an early sign of emerging authoritarian rule but no one wanted to accept the truth because it reflected mainstream social and culture traits where leaders exercise democratic norms even within the running of respective political parties and groupings. That’s why dominate communist wrote in the constitution restrictive provision limiting the fundamental parliamentary rule dismissal power of the house under people’s democracy, a cleaver maneuverings but which PM Oli disrespected as it became clear to him he would be unseated from the post because internecine party conflict. This conflict was not based on the national issue and/or governance. This event points to some faultiness in the democratic principles per se in the constitution and not consistent with political culture of Nepal. Now, the Constitutional Court has restored the house but the opposing ruling communist party faction has nothing to offer to the population except for their run for rotational musical chair of the PM’s post as no one has offered new strategies and programs on how the feuding factions (who largely operate with tribal-like loyalty and are closely knit nepotism with political corruption) will provide future pathways on nation’s development and peoples’ prosperity.

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