Did China factor abate NCP’s heightened rift?


May 3, 2020


Did China factor abate NCP’s heightened rift?

NCP leaders (from L) KP Oli, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Madhav Kumar Nepal, and Chinese Ambassador Hou Yanqi.

KATHMANDU: Had Chinese Ambassador Hou Yanqi not made a frantic move on Friday by holding talks with ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leaders, the situation, perhaps, would have been tricky for the party top-brass.

Speculations were rife that the ‘alliance’ led by NCP Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal would sweep Prime Minister Oli off his feet in the widely-anticipated meeting of the all-powerful Secretariat of the party.

The outcome of the 9-member Secretariat meeting on Saturday came as a surprise to many, including some party cadres and political analysts, as chairman duo Dahal and Oli ‘settled’ on some ‘understandings’ before the crucial meeting.

Here, did Chinese ambassador Yanqi play a role? “Indeed, I would not call them a suggestion, but yes, some sort of counseling should have come from her (Ambassador Yanqi),” a party leader close to senior leader Nepal confided with Khabarhub insisting anonymity.

In fact, Ambassador’s hectic efforts were seen as a move to protect the ruling party amid heightened intra-party rift – particularly between PM Oli and Dahal-Nepal camps when the latter faction was hell-bent on ousting Oli both from the premiership and party chairman.

Dahal and Nepal were damn against PM Oli’s decision, who had introduced two controversial bills (but later revoked) aimed at consolidating his grip both in the party and the government.

Ambassador Yanqi held an-hour-long talks with NCP Chairman Dahal at the latter’s residence in Khumaltar on Friday morning.

“How can one believe that the meeting was simply a courtesy call at a time when the party was on the verge of a split?” the leader, who also divulged details of the talks between Dahal and Nepal on Sunday afternoon.

Yanqi, during the meeting, had also expressed her hope that the party would not split notwithstanding the heightened differences.

Here, Dahal is learned to have assured her that the party would not split even if they ousted PM Oli to be replaced by senior leader Nepal.

That was not all. During PM Oli’s meeting with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, the latter is learned to have suggested the former not to limit all rights and roles to himself but dispense it to his ‘responsible colleagues’.

Meanwhile, it should also not be forgotten that Chinese President Xi Jinping had held a telephonic conversation with President Bhandari on April 27. All these were not mere coincidences!

“Sometime back, micro-management was a widely-used term in Nepali politics, especially targeted at a certain country. Now that, the same has been initiated by another neighboring country,” a standing committee member said on condition of anonymity, adding, “This is likely to affect geo-political scenario.”

Before holding talks with Dahal, the Chinese Ambassador had met with PM Oli in Baluwatar for around two hours on Thursday night.

These are some of the reasons why PM Oli seemed flexible in Saturday’s meeting. “Now imagine, why PM Oli did not show his strength in the meeting,” the leader said.

The credit goes to Chinese ambassador Yanqi, who put all her efforts to patch up the differences between the two sides, and she succeeded.

This, as some party insiders, claim that China has gradually increased its maneuvering to keep the NCP intact amid the heightened rift.

What made PM Oli agree to bring NCP Vice President Bam Dev Gautam to the House of Representatives? This is a question to ponder. Probably, the meeting between Oli and Dahal before Saturday’s crucial Secretariat meeting had agreed to a certain ‘give and take’ arrangement.

A party source close to senior leader Nepal said Ambassador Yanqi was well-accustomed to the developments in the NCP. That’s why she conveyed her message to PM Oli through President Bhandari and from PM Oli to Dahal.

Senior leader Nepal was unaware of these developments. However, Dahal apprised him about the back-stage developments.

“Now that, leader Nepal, too, is familiar with all the developments,” the leader said adding that he (leader Nepal) was taken aback at the way Dahal had presented himself in Saturday’s meeting.

Observers have to note for how long will Chinese maneuvering help keep the party intact.