It's time to go, El SupremoOli considers the amoral pragmatism of Marxism-Leninism and Maoism to be the guiding principle of his political life.
The farce of Premier Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli seeking a vote of confidence from the Pratinidhi Sabha is over with predictable results. Supremo Sharma Oli did not trust Parliament to do his bidding and had it dissolved in December 2020 on a whim. The House has now reciprocated in kind by unequivocally expressing that it had no confidence in his ability to govern anymore.
The whole exercise was pointless, if not downright harmful, in the middle of the raging Covid-19 pandemic. Determined to stay at Baluwatar come what may, the verdict of Parliament holds little meaning for the self-styled El Supremo of the ruling party. The Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court had declared the dissolution of the House unconstitutional early this year and reinstated it through a landmark verdict. Premier Sharma Oli should have resigned immediately after the humiliating defeat. Instead, he showed his disdain for the restored Parliament by not attending any of its sittings.
Sharma Oli packed several statutory bodies—including the National Human Rights Commission—with his loyalists without mandatory parliamentary hearing. The controversial ordinance was re-issued to reward some more of his political favourites.
While seeking the vote of confidence, Sharma Oli spoke with his characteristic arrogance reeking of hubris. He dismissed all allegations of opposition leaders with haughty superciliousness. Soon after the Speaker announced the result, the supremo was seen on television screens cracking his fingers with a sigh of relief. He seems to be in no mood to honour the verdict and vacate Baluwatar without a fight.
Erstwhile supporters of the supremo in the media, the intelligentsia and the civil society ignore the fact that he hasn't done anything that he wasn't capable of doing, or intended to do, once he had managed to orchestrate a 'state capture' with their active collusion.
In the ethical standards of the constitutionally christened Khas-Arya community, Brahmins sit at the top of the Hindu hierarchy and aren't answerable for their actions to anyone other than themselves. That is the reason why Brahmins have traditionally been considered unsuitable to be rulers. Having imbibed those values at an early age, it is quite natural that Sharma Oli takes his supremo position of being the ethical as well as temporal leader of the society seriously.
It is said that Marxism is a theory which is logically 'a scientific, objective and free science, without value judgements'. Leninism is a pragmatic doctrine of state capture by a revolutionary vanguard. The argument that the hyphenated ideology of Marxism-Leninism amounts to yoking the horse of European capitalism with Asiatic despotism has proven to be true in many developing countries.
A complete disregard for 'bourgeois morality', however, is the common thread of all communist ideologies. It is unclear whether it was the lack of moral convictions that made a young Sharma Oli adopt Naxalism or he became amoral only after being inducted into the Jhapali campaign of beheading class enemies. What is apparent, though, is that he considers the amoral pragmatism of Marxism-Leninism and Maoism to be the guiding principle of his political life.
Through a complex process of religious upbringing, social conditioning and political schooling, Sharma Oli has developed a complete disregard for constitutional propriety. A 14-year jail term with hardened criminals perhaps made him realise that victory in any contestation is its own justification. Fragility of personal health may have hastened his resolve to grab power through any means and be at the helm till the end.
Once the ethical foundations and the moral structure of the evolution of the ethnonational chieftain is understood, the path he has chosen for the political economy of his regime begins to make sense. The gold-plated jalhari of Pashupati costing over a billion rupees was meant to buttress his communal credentials. The fictional formation of Ayodhyapuri in Madi is a transparent attempt to project his religious identity.
On the political front, Sharma Oli perhaps feels that it was the 1990 constitution that prepared the ground for his phenomenal rise in national politics. That could be why he vehemently contested constituent assembly, opposed republicanism tooth and nail, rejected federalism out of hand, resisted the idea of inclusive governance till the last moment and has failed to to accept the fact of Nepal being a multi-national state. He has little, if any, attachment to the 2015 constitution despite his steering role in its promulgation through the 16-point conspiracy. The charter was for him just a stepping stone for the seemingly legitimate act of 'state capture'.
On the foreign policy front, Sharma Oli has adroitly kept himself out of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) controversy. The Xi Jinping Thought was meant to boost his bargaining power. Over the last five years, he has let loose more abuses at New Delhi than all other prime ministers put together but has no hesitation in seeking India's help to entrench himself in power. Come what may, Sharma Oli is extremely unlikely to go on his own unless the force of circumstances makes him do so.
Once, Tulsi Giri, a Nepali Congress turncoat and one of the architects of the Panchayat regime, had quipped that he was not at all concerned with the judgement of history. Considering the way Sharma Oli has handled Madhesi, Janjati and Dalit issues, it is perhaps right to assume that he belongs to the nihilist school of the late Giri. His obsession with the hubristic erection of Dharahara, however, shows that the supremo is not completely ambivalent about his ethnonational legacy.
Among all the dramatis personae of the political drama that is likely to unfold at Shital Niwas from Thursday, May 13, the character of Nepali Congress chairman Sher Bahadur Deuba appears to be most uninspiring. He has been a collaborator of Sharma Oli for far too long to claim the right of being an alternative. Maoist Centre chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal helped Sharma Oli become what he is and thus appears equally unacceptable for the same reason.
Most rumours in Kathmandu turn out to be true. But if Janata Samajbadi Party co-chair Mahantha Thakur is under the impression that the Hindutva regime in New Delhi can push him to the top with the help of a relentless demagogue, then he is in serious delusion. When speaking in his own defence in Parliament, Sharma Oli refused to even pronounce the term Madhes altogether.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Hard as it may seem to accept, only the CPN-UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal seems to have the cultural capital, social sagacity, political heft and diplomatic credibility to force Sharma Oli fade away from the political scene with dignity. A coalition government of the CPN-UML and the Janata Samajbadi Party under the leadership of acrobatic dealmaker Madhav Kumar Nepal, with the outside support of the Maoists, appears to be the least unacceptable proposition at this juncture.
But for that to happen, some CPN-UML lawmakers such as Subash Chandra Nembang or Bishnu Paudel need to gather the moral courage and repeat what the Conservative backbencher Leo Amery once told his own parliamentary leader: ‘You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.’
On that resigned note, greetings of Eid-ul-Fitr: May the Almighty lead us all from political strife to social amity.