Chinese envoy meets NCP top guns

Kathmandu, May 1

A day before the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is scheduled to hold its Secretariat meeting, China’s Ambassador to Nepal Hou Yanqi today met NCP Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader of the party Madhav Kumar Nepal separately. Both Nepal and Dahal had sought Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s resignation in the last Secretariat meeting of the party held on Wednesday.

According to Deputy Chair of Foreign Department of NCP Bishnu Rijal, Hou and the two NCP leaders dwelt on several aspects of relations between the two countries. Rijal, however, refrained from giving details of the talks.

The Chinese envoy had also met Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli yesterday, but media got wind of the meeting only today.

Today’s meeting of the Chinese envoy with Dahal and Nepal assumes significance as internal feud between Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and the Dahal and Nepal factions has climaxed over governance issues. It was held on the eve of crucial NCP Secretariat meeting where the Dahal and Nepal factions are likely to go after Oli with all guns blazing.

The Dahal and Nepal factions are miffed at the prime minister for promulgating two controversial ordinances recently and taking unilateral decisions on governance issues without consulting the party’s bodies.

Political analyst Puranjan Acharya said although details of the meeting between the Chinese ambassador and NCP top guns had been kept under wraps, it was not hard to fathom what the Chinese envoy might have told the two leaders.

“Coronavirus cooperation can be a pretext to hide other issues,” he said, adding, “It is not difficult to guess that Chinese ambassador, who took the unprecedented step of meeting the ruling party’s leaders during the lockdown, might have told the duo to reconcile their difference with the prime minister.”

Acharya said no one would believe that politics was not discussed in the meeting. “If it is not for a political reason, an envoy would not meet political leaders of a party during the lockdown,” he added.

The Dahal and Nepal factions have been demanding that the prime minister call a meeting of the NCP Standing Committee to dwell on issues of governance, promulgation of two controversial ordinances and alleged abduction of Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal lawmaker Surendra Kumar Yadav.

They are likely to pose tough questions to the prime minister as they have been saying that they want Oli to give up either the post of party’s co-chair or the prime minister’s post.

Hou’s meeting with top leaders of the NCP comes days after Chinese President Xi Jinping talked to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari over the phone on April 27. She had repealed the two controversial ordinances amending the Constitution Council Act and Political Parties Act on April 24.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 2, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.