On Sunday, the team conducted separate conversations with President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Oli. On Monday, a high-level Chinese delegation led by a vice minister of the Communist Party of China met with top leaders of the Nepalese Communist Party and discussed the political situation in the region, in the midst of Beijing’s intensified efforts to patch up differences between the feuding leaders of Nepal.
CPC International Department Vice Minister Guo Yezhou, who arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday in what is believed to be China’s desperate attempt to avert a vertical split in the NCP, met Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Monday morning, who claims control of the ruling party after dismissing Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli from the roles of leader and chairman of the parliamentary party.
The Kathmandu Post announced, citing Mr. Prachanda’s secretariat, that contemporary politics, in particular, that emerged after Mr. Oli’s attempt to abolish the House of Representatives, the possibility of getting the two factions of the NCP together and Nepal-China cooperation during the talks.
The Chinese delegation met later in the day with former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who succeeded Mr. Oli as president of the Prachanda-led faction.
A day after the four-member team headed by Mr. Guo held separate talks on Sunday with President Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister Oli to patch up differences between the two warring groups, Monday’s meetings arrived.
The meetings were reported by the President’s office and the Prime Minister’s office. They have not, however, made public what happened during the meetings, My Republica newspaper reported.
“Since Mr. Oli has declared snap polls for April 30 and May 10 after dissolving the House, the Chinese delegation is also enquiring if elections are possible,” the Post said, citing sources.
Mr. Guo, who knows all senior NCP leaders personally, will also meet with Sher Bahadur Deuba, President of the Nepali Congress (NC) Main Opposition Party, and Upendra Yadav, Chair of Janata Samajbadi.
Meanwhile, a mass protest rally in the capital demanding the reinstatement of the House of Representatives was organized by the National Congress. In all 165 electoral districts against the dissolution of the Assembly, the action is part of their nationwide demonstrations.
After reaching New Baneshwor Chowk, a march led by NC leader Prakashman Singh began from Bijuli Bazaar and converged into a mass assembly. Instant reinstatement of the dissolved Parliament was expected by the agitating NC leaders and cadres. In the protest rally, thousands of party cadres and sympathizers took part.
Last Sunday, Nepal plunged into a political crisis after Prime Minister Oli, known for his pro-Beijing leanings, recommended, in a surprising move, the dissolution of the 275-member Assembly, in the midst of a power struggle with Prachanda.
Acting on the Prime Minister’s advice, President Bhandari dissolved the House the same day and declared fresh elections on April 30 and May 10, triggering protests from a wide section of the NCP led by Mr. Prachanda, also a co-chair of the ruling party.
After its high-profile Nepal Ambassador Hou Yanqi struggled to iron out discrepancies between Mr. Oli and Mr. Prachanda, a cautious China rushed Vice Minister Guo to Kathmandu.
China is not pleased, according to reports, with the split in Nepal’s largest Communist Party.
During his four-day stay in Nepal, Mr. Guo was trying to patch up differences between the two warring factions of the ruling party – one headed by Mr. Oli and the other led by Mr. Prachanda, the media reports said.
In February 2018, when Oli-led CPN-UML and Prachanda-led NCP (Maoist Centre) were all set to merge and form a single communist party following the success of their alliance in the 2017 general elections, Mr. Gou had previously traveled to Kathmandu. The two Communist parties merged later in May 2018 and created a new party called NCP.
Mr. Guo would convey the message of the Chinese leadership, including that of President Xi Jinping, to the NCP leadership after analyzing the situation of the ruling party and supporting both factions of the NCP to explore some form of common ground for party unity, a ruling party leader said.
This isn’t the first time China has interfered in the internal affairs of Nepal.
In May and July, when Mr. Oli was under mounting pressure to step down, Mr. Hou held separate meetings with the President, the Prime Minister, and other senior NCP leaders, including Mr. Prachanda.
The Chinese envoy’s series of meetings with the ruling party leaders were dubbed by a number of political party leaders as interference in Nepal’s internal political relations.
With billions of dollars of investment under its multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Project, including the Trans-Himalayan Multi-Dimensional Connectivity Network, China’s political profile in Nepal has been on the rise in recent years.
In addition to the investments, Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Hou made open efforts to secure Mr. Oli’s support. The CPC and NCP have been active in training programs on a regular basis. The NCP had also organized a symposium in September last year, inviting some CPC leaders to Kathmandu to train Nepalese leaders on the concept of Xi Jinping before the Chinese president’s visit, his first to Nepal, according to a report by the Kathmandu Post.