Although Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has recovered from the infection early and returned to official business within a week, his sudden health condition has opened a new political rivalry for the political leadership.
Unified just a little over nine months ago, there is a big row over who will succeed Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli in the high leadership of newly formed Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
As a co-chairperson of NCP, former Maoist rebel leader and former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is projected as the next leader to replace the current Prime Minister Oli. Given a number of leaders, including former Prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalnath Khanal of former CPN-UML, are eying for the top slot, Prachanda’s road to become the leader of unified party is not easy.
At a time when formerly powerful leader of CPN-UML Bam Dev Gautam, one of the key players of current unification, has badly been marginalized in power politics, second generation leaders of former CPN-UML like general secretary Bisnhu Poudel, Ishwor Pokharel and Subash Chandra Nembang are in the front row to claim the leadership in case of clashes of titans of the party.
In a broader game, former Maoist leaders including Narayan Kazi Shrestha, Krishna Bahadur Mahara and other Maoist leaders are degenerated, the backing of formerly second generation of UML is very crucial for the person who wants to stake a claim on the leadership.
Despite the return of Prime Minister Oli from hospital with medical recovery, he can face health problems like this any time in future as well. As Prime Minister Oli cannot avoid meeting with people, this is likely to increase the chances of infection like the present one.
As doctors at Tribhuwan University Teaching Hospital advise Prime Minister Oli to restrict his private meeting, implementing such an advice is impossible for a political leader like Oli. Senior cardiologist Dr. Arun Shayami has given a clean cheat to the health of Prime Minsiter Oli.
“His health is alright. His kidney and heart are functioning normally and sugar level has also reduced. He has completely recovered,” said Dr. Sayami to the media. “There is nothing to worry about PM Oli’s health.”
Although this statement of senior cardiologist Dr. Sayami injects confidence and hope to the cadres of NCP-NCP, the leadership row which is now beneath the surface can be averted for the time being. However, the process of establishing the leadership in the party is likely to intensify after Deepawali Festival.
At a time when the country has been facing several challenges including the implementation of federalism, PM Oli’s hospitalization has averted the crisis for a few more weeks.
Although Prime Minister Oli returned from hospital with assurance of doctors about his strong health, it is yet to be seen, however, how the statement can avert the possible political crisis in future.