Nepal's embattled Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli on Sunday challenged the ruling Nepal Communist Party's splinter faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' to remove him from the top post if he can. Addressing an event in his home district, Jhapa, Prime Minister Oli challenged the Prachanda-led faction to table a vote of no confidence motion and endorse that, My Republica newspaper reported.
"K P Oli is still the parliamentary party leader of the NCP. He is the party chairman as well as the prime minister," 69-year-old Oli said. "If you have restored parliament, remove KP Oli from the prime ministerial post." Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 after President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the House and announced fresh elections on April 30 and May 10 at the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli, amidst a tussle for power within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP). In a landmark ruling, a five-member constitutional bench led by Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher last week annulled the Oli government's "unconstitutional" decision to dissolve the 275-member lower house of Parliament. The court ordered the government to summon the House session within the next 13 days.
The ruling party suffered a vertical split following Oli's decision to dissolve the lower house. "Remove me if you can. If I am ousted, I'll emerge victorious with a two-thirds majority in the next election," Prime Minister Oli was quoted as saying by the paper.
Prachanda has been making efforts to garner support from the opposition Nepali Congress and Janata Samajbadi parties in an apparent bid to oust Oli from power. Oli's Press Advisor Surya Thapa last week said the prime minister will not resign immediately and implement the Supreme Court's verdict against him by facing Parliament.
Oli is under pressure to step down following the court verdict. NCP Vice-president Bamdev Gautam, who maintained a balance between Oli and his rival Prachanda, last week urged the prime minister to step down.