Oli resorting to vituperation turns the conversation ugly and nastyThe prime minister lately has launched acerbic attacks on his opponents and all those who criticise him, overstepping the bounds of propriety and decency, observers say.
Ever since the Nepal Communist Party has split, as an impact of the dissolution of the House of Representatives, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has emerged as something of a kvetch, constantly attacking those who oppose him.
While addressing his cadres on January 2, Oli said he would offer condolences to Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal, who have fallen out with him, if they were martyred.
As they haven’t achieved martyrdom, it is not necessary to remember them, said Oli.
After Oli’s December 20 House dissolution move, Dahal and Nepal on December 22 declared their own Nepal Communist Party and “ousted” Oli as chairman, much to his chagrin.
A few days back, Oli described Madhav Nepal, who led the erstwhile CPN-UML for 15 years and under whom he was a leader, as “an ordinary cadre” of Dahal.
He went on to say that he would have given Nepal “the post of party chair of the third ranking” after him and Dahal, if he couldn’t live without the post of party chair.
At a programme on January 2, Oli called Dahal and Nepal “rusted nuts and bolts”.
“After these rusted nuts and bolts got removed, the car named Nepal Communist Party has picked up pace,” said Oli.
At the same programme, Oli went on to brand Dahal and Nepal as "rotting fruits", which the party has finally got rid of.
Oli, who emerged as a leader in the UML party after a long struggle, is known as a person who loves to make tongue-in-cheek remarks. When it comes to criticising his opponents, his statements are acerbic, the directness of which oftentimes is shocking. But he has been known as a leader with such a style.
But the vituperation and insults he has resorted to lately, many say, could put even his loyalists to shame, who will be found scrambling to stand in his defence.
“It is quite unfortunate to see how low the country’s prime minister has stooped of late,” said Uddab Pyakurel, who teaches political sociology at Kathmandu University. “I feel ashamed these days when I listen to our prime minister.”
On Friday, while addressing a mass gathering in Dhangadhi, Oli, in a bid to take a pot shot at Bhim Rawal, one of his comrades from the UML days, said it was him who “picked a boy” to bring him to politics.
Rawal is from the far west and Oli was delivering a speech in Dhangadhi.
“A boy from Achham [where Rawal hails from] was arrested while walking on the road and was brought to the jail where I was. I taught him politics. Now he is lecturing me [on politics],” said Oli. “You know him. He is a hindrance to the development of the far west.”
Even before the Nepal Communist Party was cleaved in two, Rawal had emerged as one of the fiercest critics of Oli. After the split, Rawal is currently with Dahal and Nepal.
But it’s not just his political opponents, Oli holds contempt for anyone who criticises him for his policies–be it media, intellectuals or civil society members.
On Sunday, Oli hit out at those who have criticised his House dissolution move calling it unconstitutional, as the constitution does not allow him to do so.
Oli lashed out at four former chief justices, saying “The tone of their statement shows that they are still working in the court”.
“I wonder what kind of verdict they might have passed during their tenures,” said Oli.
Issuing a statement on Friday, four former chief justices Min Bahadur Rayamajhi, Anup Raj Sharma, Kalyan Shrestha and Sushila Karki had said that Oli’s House dissolution move was unconstitutional.
During the question-answer session on the last day of winter session of the upper house—Oli had reached the assembly to deliver his speech after recommending prorogation of the session—he ignored the queries of some members, saying they were questioning him because their parties “had asked them”.
“I even know that the words are not yours. You are saying what your party asked you to say,” Oli told the Nepali Congress and Janata Samajbadi Party members when they questioned his House dissolution move. “Your questions helped me understand what sorts of rumour strategies are being hatched against me.”
Before the question-answer session, Oli had spoken for about 70 minutes, justifying his move of dissolving the House and explaining how development has been taking place in the country like never before.
Political analysts say politicians must maintain some decorum in their public speeches and when it’s the prime minister, he or she should pay extra attention. What Oli says is not limited to the boundaries of Nepal, the world is also watching, according to them.
“It is not just Oli when he speaks. It’s the prime minister of Nepal,” Hari Roka, a political economist who has closely followed Nepal’s politics for decades, told the Post. “What a joke he has made of himself—and the country.”
According to Roka, Oli of late has resorted to such disparaging remarks that he is overstepping the obvious bounds of propriety and of decency.
“Oli is not only demeaning his critics but the general public, who pay tax for his facilities and who elected him, as a whole,” Roka told the Post.
Addressing the upper house on Sunday, Oli, while attempting to take a dig at those who have called his House dissolution move wrong, said that a handful of people are trying to “teach ignorant people” about the process and procedures.
“What are processes and procedures? Do the people even understand those things or are they even concerned about them?” said Oli. “What will people do out of the processes and procedures? They can neither be worn nor eaten. The ignorant people are being fed unnecessary things.”
While saying so, Oli seemingly ignored the fundamental fact that the constitution has vested the sovereignty and state authority of Nepal in the people, thereby making the people the country’s ultimate authority.
Oli was elected prime minister in February 2018 after people voted the alliance of his UML and the Maoist Centre to power. However, since assuming office, Oli has misconstrued the electoral mandate given to him as a carte blanche authority to govern with an iron fist.
He has on multiple occasions displayed his authoritative impulses.
But Oli seems to be so desperate that he has taken conversation to a new low, turning it ugly and nasty, which, observers say, is quite concerning.
“While I am worried by Oli’s action and words, what concerns me more is there is a new generation that aspires to lead the country—and there must be many who want to follow his footsteps,” Kedar Bhakta Mathema, former vice-chancellor of Tribhuvan University and a civil society leader, told the Post.
According to Mathema, leaders squabble and even decide to part ways and that is part and parcel of politics.
“Parties have split in the past too, but no leader has gone down the level Oli has,” said Mathema. “It was Oli who agreed to join hands with the Maoist party without even consulting his party members. Now why spew so much venom when the same Maoists have left the party.”
After the Maoist party came overground following the 2006 peace deal, Oli was one leader who was always critical of it.
Observers say Oli is suffering from delusions of grandeur and has been rendered irrational by power.
“Oli is drunk on power; he seems to have forgotten everything,” said Roka. “But he cannot ignore the fact that people are watching him—closely.”