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Oli-led Government-7

Issue November 2015

 Ability Of Nepalese Leadership

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


The ability of the Nepalese ruling leadership to govern had been open to discussion against the backdrop of ever-increasing challenge to it. The leadership had to show its maturity facing the multiple-pronged challenge posed by the widely known but undeclared Indian blockade on Nepal, the intensified Madheshi movement, the growing belief in the Oli administration doing nothing to end the sanction, the new force Dr Baburam Bhattarai was going to create, and the unscrupulous Indian agents including majority of the NC leaders working against the country. Some leaders had already dreamed of the Oli government falling down. The NC leaders had been working hard behind the scene to this end.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been not in a mood to lift the sanction on Nepal soon. He could go to the extent of death of thousands of innocent civilians because of his actions or inactions had been sufficiently demonstrated by the killings of thousands of Gujaratis in 2002 when he was the chief minister of Gujarat. He had been allowing his Hindu cadres to lynch anybody holding beef in his/her refrigerator. The same cadres had been strictly enforcing the Hindu caste system violating the constitution. He had been shutting up the mouths of the critics, and clamping down on the media, and closing down thousands of NGOs and INGOs. For Modi, the constitution had been a scrap of paper that he could shove it in a trashcan. So, the Nepalese leadership needed to take into account of these facts, and deal with Modi appropriately. The arrogance of the Modi’s envoy in Kathmandu had amply demonstrated that they had been for what they wanted.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government had cancelled the foreign funding licenses of around 9,000 charities since a major crackdown began in April, according to AFP, the BBC NEWS stated on November 20, 2015.


Noted author Arundhati Roy on Saturday, November 28, 2015 alleged that the Narendra Modi-led government was "promoting Brahmanism" in the name of "Hindu Rashtravad", and word like "intolerance" is inadequate to describe the "fear" in which the minorities are presently living, prompting protest from right-wing activists, who dubbed her an "anti-national, the PTI news posted on stated. "The history is being re-written and national institutions are being taken over by the government," she further alleged. Raising slogans against Roy, ABVP activists called her "anti-national, pro-Pakistan and anti-Indian Army", before they were rounded up by police.


Understandably, the NC leaders had been not only uncooperative with the Oli administration but also secretly planning to tear it down. So, we could not deny the media reports that the NC leadership had been clandestinely assisting forces in effectively blocking the Nepal-bound supplies. The NC leadership had to be grateful to the Madheshi leaders for supporting the candidacy of Sushil Koirala for a new prime minister. Naturally, the NC leaders had been refusing to cooperate in resolving the Madheshi issues amicably rather taking those issues to the tipping point. Some of the NC leaders had publicly declared that they had been the Indian agents and they could do anything to please their boss. The Nepalese leadership needed to carefully and cleverly tackle such a delicate problem.


Some anti-establishment media had been portraying the impact of the blockade on the lives of Nepalese in the horrific manner. They publicized that the Nepalese hospitals had lacked the medicines drawing the attention of some hospitals to such publicity. Telling publicly that hospitals had sufficient medicine supplies, hospitals refuted such media reports. The administration gave the telephone numbers to call if anybody had felt the short of medicines and other hospital supplies. Some people went on saying that Nepal had been facing the short supply of foods even when Modi had been ordering to release any trucks carrying anything other than the petroleum products.


Prime Minister Oli had been losing the time for cashing in the anti-India sentiment of Nepalese created by the Indian sanction on Nepal for so long. Nepalese had been prepared to defend the government in other words the country at any cost but Mr. Oli had not taken any actions on resolving the people’s sufferings caused by the shortage of fuels, and other supplies. So, Nepalese had been asking Oli why he had been taking so much of time to bring in sufficient petroleum supplies; why he did not talk to the Indian leaders seriously about resolving the standoff at the border; why he did not talk to the dissident Nepalese leaders; and finally why he even did not talk to the Chinese leaders to open up another channel for taking in supplies required by the Nepalese people. The conclusion was that Mr. Oli was not a serious leader. However, the Nepalese media disclosed on November 29, 2015 that Oli had sent his envoy Mr. Pradeep Gyawali to New Delhi to talk to the Indian leaders. Previously also, Mr. Gyawali had been in New Delhi without any result.


The dissenters would not given in as long as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi remained standing up for amending the constitution of Nepal to suit his clients. Mr. Modi was not an easy person to bend. He had the experiences in letting killed thousands of non-Hindus obviously for taking the revenge on the killers of Hindus in India. So, Mr. Oli needed not wait for wearing down the dissenters’ voice as time passed. Certainly, their voices would have been died down long ago without Modi propping them up. Putting hundreds of cadres if not thousands on blocking the roads and highways cost millions of rupees a day. Up until now, Modi had been footing the bill for keeping the protestors on the no-man’s land at the border between Nepal and India.


The British-born Indian Anish Kapoor had written on the British newspaper ‘The Guardian’ on November 12, 2015 under the title “India is being ruled by a Hindu Taliban” to tell the world that Modi had been the Hindu Taliban causing the growing Hindu fanaticism and the State authoritarianism. It cost Kapoor his position on the governing board of the Jawahar Kala Kendra (arts centre), as this board was dissolved on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 to remove Kapoor from the member of the board, as reported on the BBC NEWS.


Of course, India was not an Afghanistan. Modi was not an Omar. Even the highly popular and strong woman like former Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi had to fall from grace because she had imposed a state of emergency and enforced the law and order and tried to discipline the Indians for two years in the mid 1970s. If Modi had a bit of idea of such Indian history Modi would not venture to mute the media, chase away the NGOs and other charity organizations only to stop the non-Hindu organizations working in India. Democracy had been deeply rooted in the minds of the people in India. So, Modi needed to learn this fact from his failure in Kashmir, then Delhi and finally the Bihar State assembly elections.


However, Modi propping up the Madheshi protesters on the no-man’s land between Nepal and India, he had certainly demonstrated that he lacked the memory of the recent history. He needed to know that the then Indian administration in 1989 as of the today’s Modi administration had been trying Nepal to choke on the short supply of petroleum products and other essential supplies. Ultimately, the Indian administration failed in bending the Nepalese administration at that time. Modi would lose his reputation as the good neighbor of Nepal and he would lose a tremendous amount of resources used for supporting the Madheshi dissenters to put their cadres on the no-man’s land this time.


It did not mean that Nepalese Prime Minister Mr. Oli could wait and see Mr. Modi failed in his mission on helping the Nepalese dissenters but Mr. Oli needed to act immediately not by words but by real actions visible. He needed to stop the sufferings of the Nepalese immediately meeting the people’s demands for the daily essential supplies. He had been tolerating the short supplies of petroleum products, and allowing the black marketers to run the parallel market of supplies so long time. Mr. Oli did not fell ashamed of watching the long line of gas cylinders placed on the line for filling them up. His administration brought in fuel woods but he should not think that such things could go on forever.


Mr. Oli first needed to take the issues of the Madheshi leaders. What they actually wanted, whether he could meet their demands if not why. Then, he needed to go to the people and tell them that the demands of the Madheshi leaders were beyond the possibility of meeting them. Mr. Oli also needed to refresh his knowledge of the recent Nepalese history. In fact, he had been part of the recent history. He was one of the political activists to tear down the Panchayat system in 1990, then the witness of the corrupt administration of the parliamentary system of governance, then of the rise of the Maoists, and finally the end of the monarchy in 2008. All these things happened because those rulers did not show any concern for the rule of law and for the inclusive system of governance. So, Mr. Oli needed to take immediate actions on making the Nepalese constitution inclusive one. If Mr. Oli had not forgotten his Indian counterpart Modi had said that the Nepalese constitution needed to be an inclusive one. Once the problem of not making the Nepalese constitution inclusive would be resolved then the problem of Modi blocking trucks going to Nepal and the Madheshi leaders sitting on the no-man’s land would probably end right away.


Nepalese had been feeling the heat of the intolerable situation of short supplies. The tolerance of the people had limit. So, it might break up any time soon. The opposition political parties had been raising their heads to see whether they could cash in the growing uncomfortable situation in the country. They might make the profit of the growing feeling of the people against Indian sanction and the Nepalese administration that could not make the lives of the people easier. For example, Biplav Maoists and the Vaidhya Maoists have been sounding how the people would react to their actions: the Vaidhya party going to the Indian embassy protesting the Indian blockade, and the Biplav party calling on a nationwide shutdown and burning down an Indian truck.


Mr. Oli’s deputies such as Chitra Bahadur KC and CP Mainali had been publicly stating that India had been doing everything possible to snatch away the southern portion of Nepal. The Indian ambassador had opposed it stating such statements were malicious and harmful to the age-old relations between Nepal and India. However, speaking at the Indian parliament, one of the members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Mr. Modi had proved this fact stating India needed to take the 15 southern districts out of Nepal. To this statement of the BJP Member of Parliament, His Excellency Ambassador Ranjit Rae had nothing to say. Probably, he did not dare to say anything about it.


Recently, one of the BJP leaders sneaked into Nepal, and met with the president, vice-president, speaker, and went on to see Prime Minister Oli at his Baluwatar official resident, and even threatened Oli to…, according to the Nepalese media. It was hard to believe that Oli could be threatened. Oli had publicly never expressed his fear of anybody and anything but he always liked to take a hard-line, and went a head-on confrontation with anybody he disliked. Oli might be the political match for Modi. They could stand any sort of the political weather. The Nepalese media had it that Modi had in fact incited his party’s member of parliament to state what he had stated in the parliament. However, Modi was not such an idiot to go to such an extent in the 21st century. Modi had a very low level of academic qualifications though. He had been only the tenth-grade graduate of a village school and he was not fluent in English at all. That was why he made his speeches in Hindi to cover up his lack of English fluency and make it look like nationalistic. Some of his influential cabinet ministers lacked the academic qualifications, too. If we take a look at the qualifications of the American presidents, most of them had been the law professors or graduates of Harvard or other prestigious institutes or universities.


Another BJP leader said why Nepal could not bring fossil fuels from Pakistan, according to the media report. He must be just challenging the Nepalese administration to look for another source of petroleum products once the Chinese source seemed to be dried up. The concerned BJP leader would have been a real gentleman if he were to say that India would open up the corridor to reach Bangladesh and bring anything Nepal needed. Bangladesh is only 15 kilometers away from the eastern border of Nepal. Why India did not open up the 15-km corridor to Nepal for reaching Bangladesh if the BJP leaders were really well wishers to Nepal. If that short stretch of land route were available to Nepal then Nepal could give a lot of things to Bangladesh and in return Bangladesh could provide Nepal with the fuels and other necessary supplies. Nepalese would be very grateful to the government of India.


Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made an offer to use the Sayedpur Airport as well as Chittagong and Mongla seaports as alternative routes for transportation of supplies to Nepal when the outgoing Nepalese ambassador Hari Kumar Shrestha made a farewell call to the prime minister on November 29, 2015, Press secretary Inhsanul Karim said, the news on reported. Bangladesh’s goodwill was for mitigating the sufferings of the Nepalese caused by the Indian blockade, the local newspapers reported.


Mr. Oli had been taking time to resolve the political issues, and ignoring the economic and social issues emanated from the political standoff. His economic adviser and the Vice-president of the National Planning Commission must have briefed him on the massive scale of economic losses the country had been enduring for the last 100 days or more. Everyday Nepalese had been losing billions of rupees worth of businesses and the economic opportunities. One statistics report stated that the Nepalese had to pay 400 billion rupees for the demurrage at the Kolkata (Calcutta) seaport. Time would soon come to the importers of goods that they could no more able to pay the demurrages, as the amount of demurrages would be a number of times higher than the values of the goods. What Mr. Oli had been thinking so far about such a situation the country had been confronting with. His political advisers needed to give him a good advice to make his mind up to seriously think about the future of the country and his, too.


President of NC Mr. Sushil Koirala must be very happy about how Mr. Oli could not decide on his plan of action. For Koirala, Mr. Oli had been the political adversary. Clearly, Mr. Koirala’s actions would be to bring Oli down and not prop him up. So, Mr. Koirala accepted the Modi’s offer to be his assistant and accordingly Mr. Koirala ignored his patriotism, and betrayed his loyalty to the motherland. Of course, such a person had no rights to live in the motherland but Nepalese had the nature of being generous to everybody even such a person like Koirala committing a heinous crime of betraying the motherland. Using the generosity of the Nepalese people, his NC party and Mr. Koirala himself had been working in tandem with their Indian masters to bend Nepal to suit their desire. His party had been trying to use its Students’ Union to take certain issues to the street to weaken the Oli administration.


Dr. Baburam Bhattarai had been another character that had been playing a negative role in the Nepalese politics. Dr. Bhattarai needed to understand that going against the national interest in the name of helping the disadvantaged group was not a PhD thesis that he could write and defend it at any one of the Indian universities. Making a new force meant investing a lot of money. Where he would get the so much of money required for creating a new force, and for going around the country asking the rural folks to take part in a new force. He could not act as one of the Maoists he did in the past for collecting forced donations or forcibly taking others’ assets and so on. The only alternative remained to him was to collect the international donations. He must have assurances from the international donors that would donate only when their interest would be served. That must be why his spouse and Dr. Bhattarai had separately met with the Indian ambassador in Kathmandu. None of them had disclosed why they met with the Indian ambassador at the backyard of the Shangri-La Hotel in Kathmandu. Dr. Bhattarai in his previous incarnation as the prime minister of Nepal used to say he wanted to make Nepal a bridge between China and India not a buffer state between two large States.


Speaking at the interaction event held by the Tri-chandra College Unit of the Nepal Students’ Union affiliated to the NC, General Secretary of NC Krishna Prasad Sitaula said that the new constitution would not bring political stability in Nepal, the news on on November 29, 2015 stated. What led Mr. Sitaula to state such an unfavorable statement was anybody’s guess. He had been the Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee. He was one of the personalities that had involved in finalizing the constitution despite the opposition of the ethnic people and Madheshis. The new constitution gave a lot of power to the people though it was not sufficient to make the people all-powerful. Mr. Sitaula might be jealous of people being powerful. That was why he needed a pretext that was what he was talking about probably.


A group of former bureaucrats and ministers, politicians, and so-called intellectuals had presented a memorandum to Prime Minister Oli with specific and significant suggestions how to deal with the current critical situation. One thing they wanted had been to suspend the federalism, as if it would resolve all the political problems. The second thing they wanted was to tip to China. They did not see the geographical and climatic formidable conditions Nepal had at the northern border. Even if China was ready to open its door to Nepal, it would not be tomorrow, next month or next year but it would take several years and resources before China could be as a good supplier as India. Some Chinese had floated an idea of constructing a tunnel highway through Mt Everest. It was a possibility but at what cost and who would pay for it were the questions.


Civil society leaders had marched in Kathmandu on November 28, 2015 urging the Oli administration to address the Madheshi demands that had been in limbo after the Indian intervention in the Nepalese political and business-cum-economic affairs. If one party were to demand and another were not to meet at any cost, then both the parties had been using the force to serve their interest, the result had been the political deadlock that would end only after one party losing another. This was not the rule of law and constitutional way of doing the political business. The only valid way to do everything constitutional was to accept the constitution, and then go to the people for winning the two-thirds majority in the parliament to amend the constitution that they would think needed.


Nothing left to give the Madheshis except for cutting one’s head and give it on a platter to the Madheshis, once a supreme leader of Nepal Workers and Peasants’ Party Mr. Narayanman Bijukchhe told the reporter of the at the interview given on November 4, 2015. How many people would agree on this statement remained to be seen but most of the Madheshis and the ethnic people would certainly disagree with Mr. Bijukchhe on this statement.


Speaking at another event, Mr. Bijukchhe also called on the government to deploy the army on the southern border. As one of the knowledge politicians in Nepal, Mr. Bijukchhe must be saying so to face the impending invasion from the south but such an incident had a remote chance. India as one of the largest countries, and a largest democracy in the world would not dare to engage in such an international misadventure. The police was sufficient to face the Madheshi protestors and maintain the law and order.


Some politicians knew it that the constitution was a dynamic document. It would go on changing as required by the people. The process should be through the ballots not blocking the border, and attempting on forcing the government and other political parties to meet their demands. While in his first visit to Nepal, and speaking at the parliament, Indian Prime Minister Mr. Modi had said that the dissident groups could go to the people and change the constitution with the two-thirds majority but such a wise politician had been supporting the Madheshi political leaders to keep their cadres on the no-man’s land between Nepal and India for forcing the establishment to amend the constitution. The irony is that such a wise person as Modi is has been holding Nepal for the ransom of amending the Nepalese constitution. Probably, Mr. Modi would not have done so without his hidden agenda on Nepal.


Mr. Oli had been getting tough with the protestors at one time at another generous, too. The law enforcement officials had shot dead more than 50 protestors including one Indian national. At the same time, Mr. Oli had started off paying one million Nepalese rupees to the families of the persons killed in the border protests, the Nepalese media stated. The Madheshi leaders had promised the protestors to pay five million rupees to his or her family of anybody got killed in the process of the protests. That was a significant amount for anybody in Nepal.


Alarmed by latest killings in violent clashes over the weekend in Nepal, bringing the death toll to at least 50 since protests against the new Constitution began in August, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ma’am Ravina Shamsadani at the regular press briefing in Geneva on November 24, 2015 urged Nepalese authorities to follow international standards on use of force, respect dissenting voices and engage them in a “meaningful, inclusive and open dialogue.” Unfortunately, she said that these steps do not appear to have been taken and more lives have been lost, according to the news on


Moreover, “we stress that any obstruction of essential supplies and services is a serious violation of international human rights law, including the right to life,” said Ms. Shamdasani, following a report by Nepal’s National Human Rights Commission noting that the shortage of fuel, cooking gas, medicine, food and essential goods has deeply affected life in the country, according to OHCHR.


Mr. Oli said that he was not going to India without having the blockade lifted. Why he needed to visit India. What was the reason for him to go to India? Who had set the tradition of visiting India or China after s/he became a prime minister? Is it paying tribute to the Indian leaders? Only Jhalanath Khanal as a prime minister did neither visited India nor China.


China had started off intensifying its presence in the northern region of Nepal. Chief District Development Officer Mr. Kedar Singh Thapa said that China increased six-fold providing various materials in grant to the Mustang district to counter the effects of the devastating earthquake and India's blockade on Nepal. Previously, China had been providing the district with foodstuffs and construction materials only following the demands, the news on stated on November 20, 2015. The government of China also had been providing assistance to the people in Humla, Gorkha, Mugu, Rasuwa, Dolakha and Sindhupalchok districts, the RSS news on stated.


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke highly of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's philosophy on economic development when the two old friends met in Malaysia on Saturday, November 21, 2015. Modi said that the Li's article published in the year-end edition of the Economist magazine impressed him. The article talked about the China's economic development of 2016. Premier Li thanked Modi for sending a birthday greeting on Sina Weibo: China's main micro-blogging platform, and further stated that their friendship has helped the development of China-India relations. Li said that both China and India had a similar goal of China implementing its "Made in China 2025" strategies and its "Internet Plus" program, and India its strategies of "Made in India" and "Digital India". "China is willing to work with India to accelerate the project of the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor," said Premier Li, the news on stated.


China had clearly bypassed Nepal in making Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor. China is as good as India today. China has increased its assistance to Mustang in northern Nepal. Nepalese needed to be aware of what China has been doing behind the scene. We have been experiencing in what India has been doing now.


November 30, 2015

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