Failing to sack Oli out of power is tantamount to breeding a situation of impunity at the highest level of executive authority.
By vehemently refusing to resign, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli is showing his avarice and obduracy to hold onto power. He is challenging his opponents to topple him, if they can, by filing a no-trust motion in parliament. He is even bluffing his opponents that, in case, he is ousted he will make a comeback, in the next round of elections, with a clear two-thirds majority. He has sent a clear warning to the opponents: If I can bring this much of havoc, imagine your misfortune when I come back to power with a two-thirds majority.
Has PM Oli turned into an invincible figure in Nepali politics? Is he a superman?
First, he brought havoc in the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) by unconstitutionally dissolving parliament. Second, now he is dismantling his own party—the CPN (UML). Third, as accused by his rivals, “he is dismantling communist unity in Nepal and taking the country’s politics towards rightist direction”. Finally, political repercussions of his actions can now be felt in almost all political parties. Actually, the strength of PM Oli comes not from his acumen and skills per se but from the weaknesses of his opponents. PM Oli, at least, is clear that as long as there exists a sharp difference of opinion within and between main opposition camps, he can live up with his daily dose of eccentricities—churning out jokes, giving unsolicited advice and bluffing the public with buffoonery.
Janata Samjwadi Party (JSP) seems to be clearly divided into two lines of thinking. Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato are looking for a possible alliance with PM Oli while Baburam Bhattarai and Upendra Yadav are dead against it. For them, it will be an act of immorality to stand up or sit down with PM Oli.
Lately, though it is reported that there is some kind of consensus over Deuba becoming the next PM, Nepali Congress, the main opposition, is in total disarray. In fact, the party is renowned for its disunity, group-ism and constant intra-party feuds. Having been betrayed by Comrade Prachanda in the last general elections, Deuba is in no mood to sleep with the Maoists. His personal preference is PM Oli but he is helpless with majoritarian calls inside his party.
What about Comrade Prachanda? Well, he is still licking the battle wounds and therefore busy bluffing about next revolution or threatening to go back to jungle.
The crux of the problem is that without a concerted move by three oppositional political forces—Nepali Congress, JSP and Maoist Center—it is near impossible to oust PM Oli. Comrade Prachanda may withdraw his support to PM Oli but that will give him an extra breathing space of 30 days. Moreover, PM Oli is challenging that his government has now been reduced to a coalition government under Article 76(2) of the constitution and will turn into the government by the largest party under Article 76(3), upon Maoists withdrawing their support to the government. It is mandatory for him to seek vote of confidence but if he fails to do so, the constitutional provisions will move on to have another government formed by a charismatic leader. At the moment, he is the charismatic leader. When the parliament fails to appoint next PM, finally, we are back to square one—PM Oli dissolving the House for early elections one more time.
Why Oli should be removed
Notwithstanding what is mentioned above, here are some reasons why the opposition should tell the PM “it is time to go” or show an exit door. If he does not go, then it is time to take actions.
First and foremost reason is that he has failed to resign even after court ruling over his decision to dissolve parliament. He should have resigned on moral grounds as the court has clearly spelled out his decision to be unconstitutional. He is not giving an inch over opposition’s call for resignation. Failing to sack him out of power is tantamount to breeding a situation of impunity at the highest level of executive authority. It may be perfectly legal (or read constitutional) for him to hang on to power but it definitely is not ethical. Politics rests more on moral grounds rather than on legal premises.
The second reason why PM Oli should be shown an exit door comes from his obduracy to stick onto power at any cost. Our political leaders are pretty myopic to his end. They have forgotten how and in what condition PM Oli tendered resignation during his first tenure in 2016. He does not understand any other language other than that of force. Remember, he tendered his resignation, at the last minute, without anybody’s knowledge, after knowing that he has to face music in the parliament. At the moment same thing is going to happen.
The third reason is to dismantle what Gagan Thapa has been saying ‘Olilization,’ ‘Oli-garchy’ or ‘Oli-gopoly’ that he has systematically built over the last three years. This also goes by the name of “setting theory”. Remember, how he went on to the extent of bending rules governing appointments to be made by the Constitutional Council? Literally, he has forcefully appointed his henchmen into the constitutional bodies sans parliamentary hearing.
Fourth, no action against Oli implies gradually surrendering the values of federalism, secularism and republicanism. Is not it a hyperbole for a PM to visit Pashupatinath Temple or be concerned over building a temple of Ram at Thori, Birgunj when the same PM refrains from spelling the name of God during his oath taking ceremony? If CPN (UML) officially splits into two, it will not be surprising to find his Camp hobnobbing with Rajabadis and Hindubadis.
Finally, if Americans can dump Donald Trump why can’t we do the same here? It is time to stop laughing and indulge in some serious business. Those who love jokes and comics can switch on to TV channel for stand up comedies. “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time,” said Abraham Lincoln.