China readies Plan B for Nepal Communist Party if PM Oli doesn’t play ball

The Communist Party of China team tasked to unite the 2 rival factions of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda might not have made much of headway, people conversant in the matter said after the group led by Prachanda stepped up attacks on PM Oli on Tuesday for dissolving parliament’s House of Representatives and calling fresh elections. Former prime ministers Prachanda, Madhav Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal - the three Communist Party leaders who are fronting the attacks on PM Oli - also are set to deal with a joint rally against PM Oli.

China readies Plan B for Nepal Communist Party if PM Oli doesn’t play ball
Guo Yezhou , vice minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee is leading a delegation to Nepal to work out the internal problems of the communist party in Kathmandu(REUTERS)

The joint rally comes each day after the three had separate meetings with the visiting Chinese delegation led by Guo Yezhou, vice minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee.

Guo Yezhou and his team were deputed to go to Nepal by President Xi Jinping to prevent the ruling Communist Party in Nepal from splitting.

Last week, PM Oli dissolved parliament during a surprise move that he later explained was designed to pre-empt his rivals within the party from moving a no-confidence motion against him. it had been seen as a precursor to the split of the NCP that was formed in 2018 with the merger of Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and Prachanda’s Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist Centre.

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China’s Guo Yezhou, who is believed to possess helped the 2 parties merge in 2018, was sent by President Xi to assist the 2 factions reconcile their differences. Guo Yezhou landed on Sunday and hours later, met President Bidya Bhandari and PM KP Sharma Oli.

Yesterday, he met the three former PMs from the rival camp - Prachanda, Madhav Nepal and Jhananath Khanal - and Janata Samajbadi political boss Baburam Bhattarai.

On Tuesday, the Chinese delegation met former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who heads the country’s largest opposition party Nepali Congress.

Nepal watchers said the Chinese delegation, which had started by exploring the likelihood of keeping the Communist Party in Kathmandu seemed to have concluded that the differences between the 2 rival factions were irreconcilable and had also discussed the likelihood of an appointment between the Communist Party faction led by Prachanda and Madhav Nepal and other political parties like the Nepali Congress and Janata Samajbadi Party just in case parliament’s dissolution is rolled back by the Supreme Court.

PM Oli had stunned the Chinese at their meeting on Sunday when he declined a suggestion that his cabinet should rescind its recommendation to the President to dissolve Parliament

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“In China’s Plan B, it seems PM Oli is that the common enemy,” a diplomat who tracks developments in Nepal said, indicating that PM Oli’s rivals might be expected to aim at PM Oli’s credentials. PM Oli had led the Communist Party to victory within the 2017 elections on the idea of a nationalist agenda.

“There are going to be an effort to erode his credibility over subsequent few weeks and months,” the diplomat added.

China has rebutted criticism around interference in Nepal’s internal affairs, insisting that Guo Yezhou’s team was only in Kathmandu to deepen relations between political parties of the 2 countries.

“As the country’s friend and shut neighbor, we hope relevant parties in Nepal can take under consideration the national interests and therefore the big picture, properly manage internal differences and commit themselves to political stability and national development,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said on Tuesday.(Asianewsera)