Nepal’s Parliament will on July 21 commence discussions on a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s government amidst a last ditch effort by China to stitch up support for him to stay on as Prime Minister.
Oli’s divisive and non-accomodative politics is finding no takers. The withdrawal of support by Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba and CPN-Maoist Centre Chair Prachanda has propelled a Chinese delegation in Kathmandu these days to reach out in panic to leaders of other political parties like the NC, the CPN-MC and RPP.
The plea is to speak in favour of Oli continuing as Prime Minister and vote against the no-confidence motion. In this project, China is extending all sorts of incentives to those who promise to keep Oli in power.
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China had successfully worked out a leftist unity in May this year to keep Oli in office. Prachanda was a reluctant customer, but he agreed. On the eve of the no-confidence motion, PM Oli was holding panic consultations with constitutional experts and leaning heavily on Chinese mediators to curry favour with Leftist parties. The PM is hoping that Beijing’s economic might will swing the balance of power once again in his favour.
It may be recalled that Chinese media has been openly appreciative of Oli’s pro-Beijing leanings. A friendly government in Kathmandu would further China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative that would facilitate Chinese enterprises to Nepal’s market.
At least two Chinese companies have shown interest to develop rail networks connecting China with Nepal. One is the 121 kilometre Kathmandu-Kerung route and the other is the 152 kilometre Lumbini-Kurintar route.
For all this to go super smoothly China needs an ultra-friendly government in Kathmandu, somewhat like what China has in Islamabad.
Oli with his famous comment of China being an “all-weather friend” of Nepal is one whom Beijing desperately needs.
The next few days will be crucial to see if China is able to sweet talk Nepali politicians away from the path of national interest.