As Italian political philosopher Machiavelli says in his Prince, one, who desires to establish as a successful leader, must direct his actions according to the spirit of time.
Leading the largest political party’s government, with two-thirds of majority in the parliament, co-chair of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli, who has been suffering from kidney ailment, has proven himself as a politician who can take the decision on the spirit of time.
Although many of PM Oli’s opponents publicly and his supporters privately term him as arrogant, uncompromising and authoritarian as a politician, his recent style of politics has also helped to project him as a leader with total command.
At a time when his co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal has been projecting himself as an executive chairman of the party, Prime Minister Oli has made it clear that there is no such provision. In his hour long interview with Fireside of Kantipur Television, Prime Minister Oli has made it clear in words and deeds that he is the leader and senior chairman of the party.
“In an airplane, there remain two pilots but the command of the plane lies with the one who is senior. In the present circumstances, I am the senior leader and naturally senior chairman,” said PM Oli.
Although Oli used some harsh words to prove his seniority, he also hailed his co-chairman Prachanda as a simple and helpful person. “Prachanda is a very accommodative leader and he has been helping to strengthen the party,” Oli said.
Just two days before undergoing a surgery in the hospital, Prime Minister Oli has shown the level of confidence that no political leader in contemporary politics possessed.
Elections under the leadership of Prime Minister Oli, the key political figure, were a landslide as he was a crowd puller in the ruling NCP. People liked his mundane and local slangs and dialects.
Advised by his shrewd chief political advisor Bishnu Rimal, foreign relations advisor Rajan Bhattarai and team, Prime Minister Oli’s interview looked well calculated and planned to show that he is in firm command in the party and recent public rumors about handing over the executive chairman’s position to his co-chair Prachanda is just bogus.
PM Oli said, “Both of us are co-chairmen of the party as per the party statue.” He said that he is senior in the party and naturally he will prevail in the decision. Without using any harsh words, Oli in his calculative interview projected himself as a sole and unchallenged leader in the party.
Along with proving supremacy, PM Oli also hailed his co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal as a flexible and helpful person. “Prachanda ji is a very flexible politician and compromising,” he said, hailing the role of Prachanda in the process of unification of the two communist parties.
Oli’s personal confidence and political statement made during the interview has shown that there is no one in the party to match him and beat in his style in any debate. From his personal health agenda to inner-party politics, Prime Minister Oli is clear in his mind and word.
With a party of so many top stalwarts of his own old CPN-UML, including former prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal, Bam Dev Gautam, Ishwor Pokharel and numbers of other leaders, Prime Minister Oli, who led the first Naxalite communist movement in Jhapa, established himself as an unchallenged leader.
Along with Prachanda, PM Oli also has the challenge to accommodate the former Maoist rebels. After a sex scandal, political career of Krishna Bahadur Mahara, key figure of Maoist party’s former speaker of House of Representatives, is on the brink of vanishing.
To please Prachanda, Oli retained his Daughter-in-law Bina Magar, who landed in controversy in Melamchi Water Project, as a minister of Drinking Water even by firing his own party’s popular minister Gokarna Bista.
Along with Magar, he has also retained Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun Antata in his recent reshuffle. Similarly, he handed over two major and important portfolios to outsiders.
He transferred Deputy Prime Minister Upendra Yadav to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and appointed Hridayesh Tripathy, a leader of Madhesh agitation, to lead the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration.
In the federal structure, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs is highly important ministry which directs entire judiciary and law making process. Although many see Yadav’s transfer is demotion, it is a major rewarding ministry for Deputy PM Yadav who has been pursuing for the amendment of constitution.
Similarly, appointment of another Madheshi leader Tripathy as minister of federal affairs and general administration is politically significant. It seems that PM Oli handed over implementation of federal structures and constitutional amendment to two leaders of Madhesh.
Inducting communist ideologue and his critic Ghanashyam Bhusal as the minister of agriculture, Prime Minister Oli has played a big game shutting down criticism of Bhusal.
In his interview, PM Oli has boldly defended his decision and prerogative of prime minister to like and dislike ministers. Defending the removal of some ministers, PM Oli said that his party has all capable members.
As again Machiavelli says “he will be successful who directs his actions according to the spirit of times, and that he whose actions do not accord with the times will not be successful. Because men are seen, in affairs that lead to the end which every man has before him, namely, glory and riches, to get there by various methods; one with caution, another with haste; one by force another by skill, one by patience, another by its opposite; and each one succeeds in reaching the goal by different method.”
Although he is in hospital after a surgery and is considering to go for second kidney transplant, Prime Minister Oli has not lost his sense of humor and political ambitions. Whether one likes it or not, he has chosen a clear road.
As Machiavelli says, “one can also see of two cautious men the one attain his end, the other fail; and similarly, two men different observances are equally successful, the one being cautions, the other impetuous; all these arise from nothing else than whether or not they conform in their methods to the spirit of the times. This follows from what I have said, that two men working differently bring about same effect, and of two working similarly, one attains object and other does not.”