NEW DELHI: A flurry of meetings between the Chinese ambassador to Nepal, Hou Yanqi, and top Nepal leaders, including President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, has exacerbated concerns both here and in Kathmandu about possible Chinese interference in Nepal’s domestic politics.
The meetings come at a time PM
K P Oli
, who is considered close to China, is busy staving off calls from his own party leaders to step down. How successful Oli has been in his efforts will likely be determined in a meeting of the ruling communist party’s powerful standing committee on Wednesday.
Apart from Bhandari, Hou has also met influential leaders and former PMs Madhav Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal. Both have demanded Oli’s resignation as PM and also party chairperson. Hou is said to have also sought a meeting with Oli’s rival and party co-chair P K Dahal
As many as 30 in the 44-member standing committee have demanded Oli’s resignation. However, while the standing committee is against Oli, Prachanda and leaders supporting him like Nepal and Khanal will probably have to do a lot more than just demand his resignation. If Oli refuses to resign, they can still initiate disciplinary action against him and consider expelling him from the party but it’s not clear if Prachanda and others will go that far.
“No leader will want to take the blame for splitting the party. The differences among the top leaders are not as serious as being made out and can still be sorted out,” said a source in Kathmandu who didn’t want to be named.
Significantly, according to reports in Nepal media, Hou’s meeting with Bhandari wasn’t approved by the foreign ministry and violated the diplomatic “code of conduct”. Bhandari had earlier quickly approved Oli cabinet’s recommendation to prorogue the ongoing session of Parliament. The recommendation was apparently meant to forestall any attempt to force Oli