Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli has committed three "mistakes" with his recent "undiplomatic" and "irritating" anti-India statements, a senior leader of the ruling communist party has said, amidst mounting pressure on the embattled leader who is facing calls for resignation.
Last month, prime minister Oli alleged that India was conspiring with his political rivals to throw him out of power. His remark came over a week after Nepal approved a bill to redraw the country's map demarcating the Lipulekh mountain pass, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura – the area at the centre of the dispute between India and Nepal – under its territory. The embattled prime minister stoked another controversy this month by claiming that the "real" Ayodhya lies not in India but in Nepal and that Lord Ram was born in Thori in southern Nepal.
Reacting to Oli's remarks, Spokesperson of Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) and member of the powerful Central Secretariat Narayankaji Shrestha described the prime minister's statements as "undiplomatic. "Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has committed a blunder by making irritating remarks against India, at a time when there is a need for resolving the border issue through dialogue(with the southern neighbour," he said.
"It was a mistake on the part of Prime Minister Oli to make irritating remarks by mentioning India's national symbol while claiming the disputed lands of Kalapani and Lipulekh," the spokesperson told Himalayan TV in an interview. Prime minister Oli has committed three blunders in dealing with India, though the claim made by the government on Kalapani and other territories by issuing a new map was commendable, he said.
The first mistake was speaking about India's symbol Satyamev Jayate in an irritant manner, the second mistake is to blame India for hatching conspiracy to topple his government, which is baseless, and thirdly he committed a mistake by claiming that Ayodhya, the birthplace of Lord Ram lies near Birgunj of Nepal, Shrestha said. The India-Nepal bilateral ties came under strain after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated an 80-km-long strategically crucial road connecting the Lipulekh pass with Dharchula in Uttarakhand on May 8.
Nepal reacted to the inauguration of the road claiming that it passed through Nepalese territory. India rejected the claim asserting that the road lies completely within its territory and warned the country to not resort to any "artificial enlargement of territorial claims". Differences have also emerged between Oli and Nepal Communist Party's Executive Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda" over the party's leadership.
The internal feud in the CPN intensified after Prachanda and senior leader Madhav Nepal asked for Oli's resignation following his controversial remarks against India. Oli had accused Prachanda and Nepal of hatching a conspiracy to topple his government after the new map of Nepal was issued by the government with the inclusion of Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh areas. Senior NCP leaders, including Prachanda, have criticised Oli for his baseless anti-India remarks.
Oli and Prachanda factions are currently engaged in holding internal consultations, though the date for the formal meeting is yet to be fixed. Oli has turned down the dissident group's demand for resignation. The growing differences between the two factions have led to ideological polarisation in the party, which many observers believe may result in a split in the largest communist party, which was united just one and a half years ago with the merging of CPN-Maoist Centre merging and CPN-UML.
Meanwhile, 201 members of the Central Committee of the CPN, close to executive "Prachanda", have asked the leadership to convene the 441-member Central Committee meeting to resolve the internal feud gripping the ruling party, senior leader of the party Ganesh Shah said. The Standing Committee meeting of the party has been repeatedly postponed due to the prime minister's absence.