Kathmandu, July 24 (IANS) Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli on Sunday resigned, plunging the Himalayan nation into a fresh bout of political uncertainty.
He submitted his resignation to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari at the President’s Office here, hours before Parliament was to vote on a no-trust motion against his government, officials here said.
“Before arriving here, I held a meeting with the President and put in my papers,” he told Parliament while replying to the no-trust motion.
Oli was elected the 38th Prime Minister of Nepal in October 2015.
Following Oli’s resignation, Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ appeared all set to become the new Prime Minister of Nepal.
The no-confidence motion against Oli was taken up on Friday after three bills related to the annual budget were rejected by a majority vote in Parliament.
The rejection of the budget-related bills came as a major blow to the Oli government, which had been reduced to a minority after key alliance partner CPN (Maoist-Centre) withdrew support earlier this month.
The Maoist party also recalled all its ministers from the Oli Cabinet.
After the government was reduced to a minority and Oli refused to resign, the Nepali Congress and the Maoist outfit jointly introduced the no-confidence motion against the government.
Prachanda’s party accused the Oli government of poor performance, failing to speed up reconstruction work after the 2015 earthquakes, and repeated failure to implement the new Constitution, including fulfilling the demands of Madhes-based political parties.
The new alliance of the Nepali Congress, the Maoists and other fringe parties have over 360 votes in the 601-seat parliament — sufficient to oust the Oli government.
After his resignation, Oli addressed the House and defended his work as Prime Minister.
Oli said the no-trust motion against his government was not natural and normal in terms of its timing, condition and nature, though it appeared democratic in its form. “The motion is democratic in form, but a conspiracy in essence,” Oli said.
It is a “sudden attack” from the coalition partners themselves, the outgoing Prime Minister said, adding that it was “mysterious” as well.
Arguing that the no-confidence vote was moved against him just to block efforts to implement the new Constitution, he subtly warned that the nation would have to pay a high price for it.
Oli recalled that he took over the reins in a very difficult situation while the country was reeling under shortage of basic consumables and anti-Constitution protests.
But the coalition partners began a “sudden attack” on the continuity of the government, a beleaguered Oli lamented.
Oli repeatedly said that the Maoists had kept significant ministries with themselves and were equally responsible for his government’s performance.
He further accused Dahal of practising “politics without morality” and “making politics dirty”, reiterating that the Maoist leader was part of the government and he could have corrected its performance if he wanted.
The outgoing Prime Minister said he was compelled to form the coalition government with the help of fringe parties since the largest party in the House, the Nepali Congress, was not ready to form a consensus government.
Oli claimed that his government scored some significant achievements in promoting bilateral ties with neighbours India and China based on national independence and sealing some trade agreements with China, thereby ending dependence on a single nation (India) for trade and commerce and turning the nation into ‘land-linked’ from the earlier ‘land-locked’ status.
“I had said I will make Nepal prosperous and it is possible,” he said.
He challenged the next government — likely to be formed by the Nepali Congress-Maoists alliance — to “perform” (well).
(Anil Giri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)