Five former Nepal PMs come together to lead the opposition alliance

In what may easily be described as an unprecedented political consolidation, five former Nepal prime ministers have come together to form what is the “opposition alliance”

Jun 26, 2021
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Five former Nepal PMs

In what may easily be described as an unprecedented political consolidation, five former Nepal prime ministers have come together to form what is the “opposition alliance”.

The five ex-PMs - Sher Bahadur Deuba, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal and Baburam Bhattarai— held an interaction with editors of various media outlets to “discuss contemporary politics” and solicit journalists’ views.

Ever since Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli dissolved the House of Representatives on May 21, the five former prime ministers have issued at least three joint statements, Kathmandu Post reported.

In the first statement, issued on June 12, they even warned of foreign interference, without naming names, but it was not difficult for even a layman to guess they were referring to India. In other statements, they have appealed to the state machinery not to cooperate with Oli and called on the public to unite against “Oli’s shenanigans”.

The opposition alliance consists of the Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), a faction of the UML led by Nepal and Khanal, a faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party led by Bhattarai and Upenedra Yadav and Janamorcha Nepal.

The alliance has even filed a petition at the Supreme Court, with signatures of 146 lawmakers from the dissolved House, against President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s moves of rejecting Deuba’s claim for the prime minister post and dissolving the House.

But there already are questions galore. Many look askance at the alliance led by the former prime ministers who, according to critics, have already been tried and tested in the past.

Detractors also doubt if the alliance indeed is for the rule of law, constitutionalism and the system or if they have just banded together to unseat Oli to serve their personal and political interests. There are also questions about the alliance’s longevity.

In a nutshell, this is an alliance formed out of compulsion, said Krishna Khanal, a professor of political science at the Tribhuvan University.

“Dahal is left with no option; he had to find something to lean on to fight against Oli,” Khanal told the Post. Madhav Nepal’s other leg is in the UML, his mother party. The Janata Samajbadi Party is a divided house.”

According to Khanal, the Congress party can lead an agenda-driven movement but its leadership is not ready.

“We can assume some kind of cooperation and collaboration among the constituents of this alliance but for how long it will last is questionable,” said Khanal.

(SAM)

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