New Delhi: The Chinese have once again sprung into action in Kathmandu to unite the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) even as the latter believes that this time the attempts made by Beijing are a “failed attempt” and uniting the two factions is “impossible”, ThePrint has learnt.
According to sources in Nepal’s political establishment, the NCP has already split into two factions — one led by incumbent Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and the other by Madhav Nepal and Pushp Kamal Dahal, both former prime ministers.
“While the party has already split into two for all practical purposes, this has not been done officially since both factions claim the party name as well as the symbol… But this is for sure, that no matter what the Chinese leaders do now, uniting these two factions is impossible and it is a failed attempt,” a top official in the Nepal government told ThePrint, requesting anonymity.
Ever since Prime Minister Oli recommended the dissolution of the Lower House of their Parliament, also called the House of Representatives or ‘Pratinidhi Sabha’ last Sunday, which also got President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s approval, Beijing has left no stone unturned to make sure they bring the two quarrelling factions together, something they were successful at doing earlier this year when the split looked inevitable, sources said.
Hou Yanqi, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal, has met almost all senior leaders of the NCP to keep the party unity intact, said sources. She met Oli right after the prime minister announced his decision to dissolve the House of Representatives, and President Bhandari subsequently. She also held meetings with Dahal, popularly known as Prachanda, Thursday, said sources.
Sources also said ambassador Hou has asked the leaders to find a way out of this political crisis and that Beijing will “fully support” the ruling party if it is willing to resolve the matter and come together.
She did the same earlier this year in May when the clamour of a possible split between Oli and Prachanda came to light.
On Friday, Hou met Nepal to discuss issues of “bilateral concerns” of both China and Nepal.
“Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China H.E. Hou Yanqi paid a courtesy call to the Chairman of the Nepal Communist Party comrade Madhav Kumar Nepal today. They discussed the issues of bilateral concerns of the both countries,” tweeted Bishnu Rijal, Deputy Chief of Department of Foreign Affairs and Member of Central Committee of NPC.
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China H.E. Hou Yanqi paid a courtesy call to the Chairman of the Nepal Communist Party comrade Madhav Kumar Nepal today. They discussed on the issues of bilateral concerns of the both countries.
— Bishnu Rijal (@bishnurijal1) December 25, 2020
India, meanwhile, said 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”.
‘Chinese are incapable of working with multiple forces’
Experts said what the Chinese don’t understand is the difference in the character of Nepalese leaders — be it Oli or Nepal or Prachanda.
“The Chinese were successful in bringing these two squabbling factions in 2018 and then again in this year when the demand for Oli’s resignation from the party and as the prime minister started getting louder. But no more,” Vijay Kanta Karna, professor of political science at Nepal’s Tribhuvan University, told ThePrint.
Karna, a former diplomat, also said, “What the Chinese don’t understand is the difference in the character of the leaders. Be it Oli, or Nepal, or Prachanda, they are all very different people having their own rigid beliefs. Chinese are incapable of working in a condition where there are multiple forces.”
On Friday, the faction led by Nepal and Prachanda went to the Election Commission claiming a majority of 297 members of the 441-member Central Committee.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court of Nepal that is presently studying the case of the dissolution of the House of Representatives has issued a show-cause notice to the government, and the constitutional bench hearing the case has sought an original copy of the recommendation that was approved by Bhandari, sources said.
Oli may visit India
India sees this political crisis in Nepal as Kathmandu’s “internal matters” even as Oli is believed to have decided in undertaking a trip to New Delhi next month, after his Foreign Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali meets Indian officials here, according to local media reports.
Anurag Srivastava, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs, said Thursday: “We have noted the recent political developments 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.”
Gyawali was supposed to come to India this month for the India-Nepal Joint Commission meeting with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar.
This was discussed during the visit of Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla to Nepal last month when he vowed to take the bilateral “ties forward” after they were adversely impacted due to Oli’s decision to unilaterally change Nepal’s political map showing the disputed regions of Kalapani and Lipulekh as part of its own territory. The map was rejected by India.
During his address to the nation Monday after the dissolution of the House, Oli said he strived hard to strengthen the country by issuing a new political map, and signing a trade and transit treaty with China.