Nepal: Internal Crisis continues while the Pandemic is getting Uncontrollable
It is a pity that while Oli’s Government is facing an imminent crisis due to Covid-19 (Wuhan Virus) pandemic, it is downplaying it and is busy with other things.
One in 28 in Kathmandu is said to be diagnosed with the Wuhan Virus and the pandemic is getting out of control in the three districts of the valley.
The hospitals are overwhelmed and are under equipped in the valley to deal with the Virus.
By last count, a few days after the Dasain, the number of incidence of the virus infections rose to 61855. By now PM Oli should also be aware that the Wuhan virus is more lethal than the Indian ones!
The open visit of the R&AW Chief and his closed door meeting with PM Oli is still being talked about in the media. Some think that R&AW Chief was carrying a personal message from Prime Minister Modi to PM Oli and maintain that it was not only unusual but against all diplomatic protocol. The Foreign Ministry was the one that gave clearance of the landing of the special plane of the R&AW Chief but it is said that they were not aware of details. One paper said that it was an attempt by India to reset the present frigid relations between the two countries. Baburam Bhattarai who has become the Chairman of Sanghiya group of the Terain party even declared that he was not met by the R&AW Chief.
The Indian Army Chief paid an official three day visit to Kathmandu from 4th November. Since his visit closely followed that of R&AW Chief it was being speculated that the visit was to mend the ties between the two countries. In this speculative reporting, the Indian media took the lead although the Nepalese media though mentioned the visit did not give it due importance.
The Nepalese Army in a Press Note while describing the visit said “The Nepal Army believes that exchange of such high-level visits and continuation of tradition helps in strengthening the relations between the two armies contributing to enhancing the relationship between the two countries.” The visit is part of an age-old tradition where the Army Chiefs of both countries invite their counterparts to confer the rank of Honorary General and nothing more. The Indian Army Chief as is customary called on the President and the Defence Minister who is also the Prime Minister here.
The internal feud between Oli’s faction and that of Dahal continues with all the fury and some analysts have called it as if it has reached a “tipping point.” Not so soon anyway.
According to Dahal the Co. Chairman of the Party, Oli in his last meeting clearly made out that it is better to part ways. Oli went on to say that he won’t abide by any decision of the party committee and even if any decision is taken through a majority vote and threatened that he would take “big action.” We do not yet know what he meant by the term “big action”
President Bidya Devi Bhandari is said to be working relentlessly to prevent a split within the Ruling Party. She met Bam Dev Gautham, deputy Chairman of the party on Tuesday 3rd November. This move of the President is being criticised as unconstitutional by many experts.
Hari Sharma who served as the political and foreign relations Adviser to the former President Ram Bharan Yadav remarked that the efforts of the President to iron out differences within the Party as unfortunate.’
Columnist Aniruddha Gautham said that the “President should stop the extra constitutional exercises.”
Another said that Nepal’s Political system is at risk if the office of the President fails to work impartially.
Some senior leaders are upset that US Secretary of State Pompeo chose to visit India and Maldives and not Nepal. Many editorials have appeared to caution the Government to steer clear of the growing “face off” between China and India.
Oli’s Government has continued to be in denial mode when there are media reports of China encroaching on Nepalese territories particularly in Humla and Gorkha districts. Some border pillars found missing, have been retrieved by the Chinese and replanted them without even consulting the Nepalese counterparts.
I do not believe the Indian media reports and even some Nepalese media reports that India is keen in taking the initiative to “reset” the ties between the two countries.
Let us leave it to Nepal to decide finally what kind of relationship they want with India.