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Faced with party revolt, Nepal PM blames India

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NEW DELHI: The recent strife in ties with Kathmandu

 has foregrounded again India’s old fault lines with Nepal PM K P Oli. Faced with dissension in the ruling communist party, Oli Sunday accused Indian authorities, including the Indian embassy, of plotting his ouster.

Oli was Sunday quoted as having said that conspiracies were being hatched to ensure his removal after he released Nepal’s new map which shows territories in India’s Uttarakhand

 state as belonging to Nepal.

“Given the ongoing intellectual discussions, media reports from New Delhi, embassy’s activities and meetings at different hotels in Kathmandu, it is not very difficult to understand how people are openly active to oust me. But they won’t succeed,” he was quoted as saying by Kathmandu Post.

Oli’s remarks, and an apparent nationalist stance, come at a time his position is being seen as “shaky” because of factionalism in the ruling party and his rival and former PM P K Dahal Prachanda

 coming out against the PM’s alleged autocratic style of functioning.

Indian officials refused to comment on Oli’s remarks. A source reiterated through India’s position that Nepal was a valued neighbor and that the focus was on ensuring supplies of essentials to Nepal in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis remained unaffected.

India was accused of having a role in Oli’s downfall in August, 2016, too when his first term as PM, which lasted only for 9 months, ended. Oli’s ouster was seen as a serious setback for China as he had worked actively as PM to reduce Nepal’s economic dependence on India by signing trade and energy agreements with China.

Oli’s first term as PM, as many is Nepal still believe, was also marred by India’s alleged 2015-16 economic blockade which caused hardships to Nepali people.

As Oli has himself said in the past, the period of late 2015 and early 2016 was a difficult time in Nepal-India relations as Nepali people had to face “immeasurable hardships” after essential supply lines were cut off. However, in an interview to ToI after taking over as PM again in 2018, he seemed ready to move on as he said learning lessons for future was more crucial than being stuck with the past.

While Oli also said he wanted a trust-based relationship that reflected the realities of the 21st century, his move to issue a new Nepal map and “hurriedly” get it validated by Parliament has only exacerbated fears of a pro-China tilt in his foreign and economic policies. The government believes that China will be happy to see the back of India at the Lipulekh Pass which is strategically located near the India-Nepal-China tri-junction and which is controlled by Indian forces. Indian army chief M M Naravane has already said that Nepal’s move might have been at the behest of a third country.

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