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Oli’s anti-India talk is part of poll rhetoric, say Nepal experts

Oli's anti-India talk is part of poll rhetoric, say Nepal experts

By Santosh Ghimire

New Delhi, Nov 9: Former Prime Minister KP Sharma Olis attempt to rake up Nepali nationalism by raising Kathmandus border row with India is an opportunistic attempt to win the November 20 elections, say Nepal experts.

 

Khadak Raj Joshi, a leading civil society activist in Sudurpaschim Province told India Narrative that "elections are giving major political parties yet another chance to whip up nationalistic rhetoric. The sovereignty issue is, of course, there. But, it's more about securing electoral gains on the plank of anti-Indian nationalism".

Hoping to rouse jingoism, Oli said during his inaugural rally on Friday that "We won't allow a single inch of our land to be encroached upon...We issued the national map [incorporating the Kalapani area]. The Parliament endorsed it unanimously. I am here to guarantee that [the area returns to Nepal]."

Oli was referring to a map, endorsed by parliament, that he as former Prime Minister had released. It included the area claimed by India as part of Nepal.

Significantly Oli chose the Darchula border area, which includes the contested zone, for his first rally, with a clear aim of striking a strident nationalistic posture, and avoiding bread-and-butter issues that impact the life to regular Nepalese.

But some Nepal watchers are of the view that Oli's pitch may backfire.
"People know that Kalapani (a point of dispute)
is just an election agenda, nothing more than that. So, to my understanding, this Kalapani agenda is not going to be sold out this time."

"In the last elections, KP Sharma Oli, Deuba and even Prachanda said they would regain territories in Kalapani by holding talks with India if they won elections. See, that did not happen in the past five years when they ruled the country one after another. Now, elections are coming and they are making it an election agenda. Oli told recently that he would work to bring back territories in Kalapani. We can't trust him at all," says Krishna Prasad Regmi, a local resident of Dhangadhi, the temporary capital of Nepal's Sudurpashchim Province.

An article in the Nepali daily Kathmandu Post quoted Uddhab Pyakurel, who teaches political sociology at Kathmandu University, as saying nationalist agenda of that Oli's CPN-UML party has "become stale now and is not going to pull significant votes for the party".

Bhaskar Gautam another political commentator asserted that, "Oli doesn't walk the talk. While he makes big public remarks against India, we have seen him surrender before the southern neighbour on several occasions."

An editorial in the same newspaper also roundly criticised Oli's poll strategy. "On Friday, two-time prime minister and UML chairman KP Sharma Oli, while addressing a mass gathering in Darchula district, which includes the occupied area, guaranteed that he would return to Nepal the land that currently houses Indian forces... The UML is evidently under pressure to shore up its votes as it faces a formidable foe in the five-party ruling alliance. As inflaming anti-India sentiments has traditionally been an effective electoral agenda in Nepal, it has chosen this easy way out. But in doing so the party and its chairman are doing the country disservice."

The edit however, praised both incumbent Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Thapa and another former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai for not indulging in competitive jingoism.

"Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba responded to Oli's statement, saying that bilateral dialogue rather than electoral grand-standing is the need of the hour. On this issue, Deuba and Bhattarai are right."

(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)

--indianarrative

( 597 Words)

2022-11-08-22:15:03
Source: IANS

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Oli's anti-India talk is part of poll rhetoric, say Nepal experts

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