Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli has shown that there is no one in his party to overthrow him immediately. With his new nationalist posture built through the publication of new Nepal’s map incorporating Kalapani territory, PM Oli shut the mouth of all his rivals in the party including a group of Former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalnath Khanal.
Till a few weeks ago, PM Oli was in a defensive position and he was virtually helpless. All his opponents stood together to dislodge him from his position. However, the tweet of Indian defense Minister Raj Nath Singh about the inauguration of the road to Tibet through Kalapani and Limpiyadhura gave Prime Minister Oli a life-saving medicine (Sanjibani) to survive and knock out his rivals.
As in the past, PM Oli did not bother to gamble sensitive border issues with Nepal’s close neighbor India showing anti-Indian posture for his own petty political gain. For many, his latest drama was not a surprising one. In the last election, PM Oli rode to power by projecting himself as a strong anti-Indian and staunch nationalist leader.
As the government is getting very unpopular due to failure of handling the migrant and COVID-19, PM Oli, who raised the current border dispute through his report leading a high-level UML internal committee in 1996 to pass Mahakali integrated treaty, will keep this newfound weapon to defame his opponents in case they make any attempt to overthrow him.
Immediately after the inauguration of the road, student wings affiliated to the ruling Nepal Communist Party and main opposition Nepali Congress jumped to the street. Similarly, a group of intellectuals led by former secretary Dr. Dwarikanth Dhungel pressed the government to issue the new map of Nepal.
Facing all kinds of criticism within the party for his failure to accommodate party leaders, factionalism and MCC agreement, the inaugural of roads and subsequent protests within the country came as his political salvage.
Known for his quality to play the words and take the shield of nationalism, Prime Minister Oli, who was projected as a petty villain and anti-national for pushing MCC, has risen as a tough guy to stand against India.
PM Oli summoned an all-party-meeting overnight and had Kalapani and Limpuyadhura included in the address of President Bidya Devi Bhandari. In the policies and programs of the government, the government announced establishing the rights of Nepal on the land and take it back from India.
Taking a further position in his reply to the program, Prime Minister Oli did not spare any time to harp Kalapani and Limpuyadhura. Although he used all kinds of words even crossing the limit of diplomacy, his posture and popularity have increased.
Not only his radical party workers but also Nepali Congress youth leaders Gagan Thapa and Dr. Minendra Rijal praised PM Oli’s stand. MP Thapa even said that he is with PM Oli.
After his address in the parliament, PM Oli’s cabinet took a decision to publish a new map incorporating the territory of Kalapani and Limpuyadhura. At a time when the resentment against PM Oli and his handling of migrant workers and COVID-19 had made him very unpopular, the Kalapani issue helped him to thrive in Nepali politics.
Although tens of thousands of Nepalese migrant workers coming back from home after two months stranded in India and tens of thousands of Nepalese migrant workers are waiting to come back home, Nepal’s whole political move is now how to amend the constitution to change the map in the national emblem.
“I am confident that truth will prevail over false claims. Nepal will take over its territory from India because we are on the side of truth,” said PM Oli. “We will not let anybody to grab inch of our territory.”
Although how much the current wave of harping the sentiment of nationalism and anti-India slogan will harm Nepal’s long term interest and how it pollutes the minds of young Nepali against India is yet to know, Kalapani and publication of new map saved Prime Minister Oli personally. He is an unchallenged leader now not only in his party but even in opposition.