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Focus on Oli

editIt is only natural that chairman of the Nepal Communist Party – United Marxist Leninist, Khadga Prasad Oli should the focus of Nepali politics. He has brought his party to focus in Nepali politics as the largest party in the country after the recently concluded elections. Oli has, moreover, engineered the poll victory after having announced that his party will contest the elections taking into partnership comrade Prachanda (Pushpa Kamal Dahal) and his Nepal Communist Party Marxist, Leninist, Maoist (the Unity Center with the avowed purpose of uniting the two communist parties post-elections. In doing so his new party also swept together some other minor Left parties to form a formidable coalition that gave this section a hefty push at the hustling, enough to relegate the government Congress and its leader Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and his hastily patched up ‘Democratic Alignment’ to the opposition benches once the election round sees total completion and the legislature sits for business. This in itself is no minor achievement since Oli’s move effectively preserved the Maoist role in the system, lifting it up from its waning performance in the local elections. Oli also trounced the Congress electoral government, an achievement almost unique in Nepali electoral history although history will not perhaps be able to digest the presence in that government of Oli’s allies, the Maoists. Who refused to resign while contesting the polls in alignment with the UML.
That Oli took as electoral partner the Maoists who had doomed his government after deserting him mid-budget session by shifting from the treasury bench to flip the opposition Congress to power as allies is yet another wonder in the new political dispensation. That the same Maoists can do what it did in the elections thus did not become beyond Oli’s imagination. Oli is in focus at the moment not just for his election victory, he is currently also in focus since the victory has put him in position to patch up a new government with his new allies. He is, moreover, also, to materialize the much vaunted unity with the Maoists. That this is no easy task is evinced from public discussions on whether the cabinet is to be formed first or whether the party unification is to take place. Lame duck prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has facilitated decision on these delays by staying put ion office awaiting Election Commission announcement that the total process of the polls is over and that the president should ask to the new legislature to convene. Yet another anomaly of this system is that the numbers game need not necessarily conclude that Oli is scheduled for office. He has much to do to reach there still and that is also why he is in public focus. It is this public focus that seems to have been further given a fillip with the unannounced arrival here on a private visit of Indian Foreign Minister Shushma Swaraj whose agenda less two day trip here saw he being hosted to dinner by the Oli led UML party prior to which Oli held a precedent breaking one to one private meeting with Oli. Oli, mind you, at the moment is a private citizen since the house has yet to convene. Indeed, Swaraj’s private trip is itself beyond diplomatic precedence but the her formalization of the trip through the meet with Oli overshadows the other routine formality of a foreign dignitary’s private trip. Without doubt, the UML party machinery and its foreign department or Oli’s personal trustees plus Sushma’s honchos at South Block or even her boss Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s could have traded communications privately on mutual concerns. But that Swaraj should in person try and score one keeping Oli in focus is worth pondering over surely.

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