PM Oli casts doubt on NC-Maoist intent, demands polls

KATHMANDU: Caretaker Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has demanded that the Parliamentary elections be held before the local and provincial elections.

Casting doubt on the intention of Nepali Congress and CPN Maoist Centre, Oli said the understanding between the two parties to hold elections of local bodies in April could be but a move not to hold any election at all.

“Parliament was dissolved [in 2002], first Constituent Assembly was dissolved [in 2012], efforts were made to bar the new Constitution. Now, the government was pulled down and the scheduled polls in November are being deferred,” the outgoing Prime Minister said in a seminar on Friday.

“This is a part of a design to push the country towards perpetual crisis,” he claimed.

The NC-Maoist alliance has spelled out a plan of holding polls of village committees, municipalities and district committees in March-April, 2017, while the Oli government had decided to conduct the polls by mid-December.

“When will you hold provincial and parliamentary elections, if you are going to conduct polls of local bodies only in April next year?” he asked, warning that the country would fall into a vicious crisis if the general election could not be held by January 21, 2018, as the Constitution requires.

After the Parliament held deliberations on the no-confidence motion moved against him by Nepali Congress and CPN Maoist Centre, Oli, who is also the chairman of CPN-UML, resigned from the prime ministerial berth on Sunday.

The workshop was organised by the Madan Bhandari Foundation on the theme of changing foreign policy dynamics between Nepal and China, and Nepal and India.

"Intervention unacceptable"

Saying Nepal never went against genuine interests of its neighbours and would not do so even in the days to come, Prime Minister Oli, added that external intervention, micro-management, unwarranted suggestions, however, would not be acceptable to sovereign Nepali people.

He also said connecting roads with a particular country was not a matter of external preaching, but a matter to be decided by Nepali people.

"We have two big neighbours and we want to connect roads to both of them,” he said. “What we want is ensuring cordial ties and taking economic benefits from both the neighbours.”

"Can't change neighbours"

Former Prime Minister and senior leader of CPN-UML Madhav Kumar Nepal opined that Nepal should maintain cordial relations with both China and India.

“We can change friends, but can’t change neighbours,” he said. “We can take benefits in economic as well strategic fronts if we maintain cordial relations with our neighbours.

"New vision needed"

CPN-Maoist Centre leader and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, observed that Nepal has to relinquish the old mindset of a “yam between two boulders” and adopt a new vision to become a vibrant bridge of China and India.

“We have to take our geo-politics as a boon not a curse,” he added.

"New PM shall serve till new elections"

Nepali Congress leader and former Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala praised Prime Minister Oli’s leadership, saying he succeeded in generating hope among common people.

She opined that the next prime minister should remain in power for the remaining term of Parliament, and not just nine months.

"That will  ensure stability and help the implementation of Constitution,” she added, expressing her dissent to the agreement between CPN Maoist Centre and Nepali Congress.

While joining forces to pull down the Oli-led government, the two parties had forged an agreement to elect Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal the Prime Minister for nine months and he would resign to hand over the power to Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur till the next general elections.