The game-changerAn ardent critic of the Maoist-led violent movement, KP Sharma Oli has just been elevated to the most powerful seat of power for a second term, ironically on the backing of the CPN (Maoist Centre) on both occasions.
An ardent critic of the Maoist-led violent movement, KP Sharma Oli has just been elevated to the most powerful seat of power for a second term, ironically on the backing of the CPN (Maoist Centre) on both occasions.
This time, CPN-UML Chair Oli is poised to create history by merging the two largest communist parties of the country. Oli, who supported Madan Bhandari’s People’s Multiparty Democracy (PMD) when other leaders including Jhala Nath Khanal were against it, always stood against the decade-long Maoist insurgency, thus earning praise from the international community for his commitment to the democratic system.
Having been in the opposition for most of his political career, Oli became the home minister when the UML led a minority government in 1994. He later became the deputy prime minister and foreign minister in the government led by the late Girija Prasad Koirala after the reinstatement of parliament in 2006.
His good days in the party began when he became the Parliamentary Party leader in 2014, defeating the sitting party chairman Khanal. Oli went on to become the party chairman at the UML’s ninth general convention, defeating long-time chief Madhav Nepal.
After promulgation of the federal democratic republican constitution by the Constituent Assembly, Oli eventually became the prime minister with support from the Maoist Centre and the Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal on 11 October 2015.
When Oli took over the reins by beating then-Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala in the PM race, Nepal was reeling under an economic blockade imposed by India. At a time when Nepalis were trying to rise from the devastation casued by the Gorkha Earthquake, Oli took a firm stance against the Indian embargo and compelled New Delhi to lift the blockade. This propelled his popularity to a new height. He further signed a trade and transit treaty with China arguing that Nepal should not remain an “India-locked” country.
One of the major reasons behind the sweeping success of the left alliance during the recent polls was the stand Oli took against the Indian blockade during his first premiership.
Besides, his initiatives for drafting the new constitution were appreciated by other parties as well. Oli, who was not very happy with the developments in the constitution drafting process, made a firm resolve later to ensure the constitution.
“The stance against the blockade and initiatives for signing the trade and transit treaty with China were the most significant achievements of Chairman Oli,” said UML Deputy General Secretary Ghanashyam Bhusal, who is also a vocal critic of PM Oli. Born to a peasant family in Tehrathum in 1952, Oli lost his mother as a young boy. He is well known for his quick, incisive and witty comments. He is also popular for his special ability to make proverbial remarks.
Many made fun of Oli’s optimistic plans like piped-gas delivery to households, operating national flag-bearer ships in the Indian Ocean and running metro trains during his first stint as PM.
Now, it is time for him to grab the opportunity to become a ‘Raj Neta’ by inspiring hope among the Nepalis, expediting development projects.
—By Tika R Pradhan