By Katmandu Post
Days after alleging that conspiracies were being hatched in New Delhi and Kathmandu to unseat him, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has told his ministers that attempts are being made to oust him and impeach the President.
After meeting with President Bidya Devi Bhandari, Oli on Saturday evening told his ministers to “make their position clear”–whether to side with him or his opponents.
“The prime minister told us to remain prepared for any action within a day or two, as anything could happen,” said a Cabinet minister after an informal meeting at Baluwatar.
Oli had suddenly called all his ministers, including the state ministers, to Baluwatar on Saturday evening and gone to Sheetal Niwas to meet with the President.
“Though the prime minister did not elaborate on where he was getting information from, he said plots were being hatched to unseat him and impeach the President,” the minister told the Post.
Oli had come under immense pressure last week following his allegations that forces in New Delhi and some elements in his own Nepal Communist Party (NCP) were trying to topple him.
At the Standing Committee that followed, the rival faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal had upped the ante, demanding that Oli resign both as party chair and prime minister.
A cornered Oli on Thursday in a sudden move decided to prorogue Parliament, stoking concerns if he would issue an ordinance to split the party.
On Friday, hours-long talks between Oli and Dahal failed, as both refused to budge from their stances. Both were scheduled to sit again on Saturday morning before the Standing Committee meeting. The Standing Committee, however, was postponed until Monday citing the need for time for both chairs to hold discussions.
But no meeting was held between Oli and Dahal on Saturday.
Instead, Dahal, Khanal, Nepal and Gautam held a meeting in Khumaltar.
Insiders said they were wondering if the Dahal faction’s meeting spooked Oli.
“The prime minister said attempts are being made to remove him and that he has credible information that some party leaders are hatching a plot to impeach the President,” another minister told the Post.
As Oli has already prorogued the House to deprive his opponents of the platform to remove him, he could be trying to avoid any move from the Standing Committee, according to a leader from the Dahal faction.
“Dahal on Thursday itself had made it clear to the President that some rumours could be doing rounds about impeachment and that she should not believe in them,” said Matrika Yadav, a Standing Committee member. “We wonder why the prime minister is concocting all these now.”
At Saturday’s informal meeting with the ministers, at least three ministers had contested Oli’s statements about plans to impeach the President.
“Ministers including Barshaman Pun, Ghanashyam Bhusal and Parbat Gurung had urged the prime minister that the two party chairs, who are responsible for the party unity, should find a way to resolve the ongoing conflict,” said a state minister.
“Minister Bhusal urged the prime minister not to get swayed by unverified information. Pun said that the prime minister should not reach an early conclusion on such matters.”
Party spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha has urged all not to drag the high office of the President into a controversy.
“The President is an institution. Let’s not drag the institution into controversy for our self-interest. Let’s not spread rumours about impeaching the President,” Shrestha wrote on Twitter.
Subas Nembang, a Standing Committee member and Oli’s close confidante, said the prime minister briefed the ministers on the political situation and told them that he would fight till last to save the party unity.
“Yes, he did ask his ministers to be prepared for anything unexpected,” Nembang told the Post. He stopped short of elaborating.
A central committee member said that Oli seems to be in a confrontational mode.
“Today’s briefing to his ministers indicates that he is in a mood to take some unpleasant step,” said Maheswor Dahal, a central committee member close to Dahal. “Or maybe, it’s just his tactic to put pressure on the Dahal-Nepal faction.”