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Nepal amidst political turmoil as Prime Minister KP Oli resigns

Nepal’s embattled Prime Minister K P Oli resigned on Sunday just before a no-confidence vote which he termed as a conspiracy by “foreign elements” to turn the country into a “laboratory” and obstruct the implementation of the new Constitution, triggering a fresh political turmoil.

Oli, who became prime minister last October heading Nepal’s eighth government in the past 10 years, has been facing a no-trust motion after the Maoists withdrew support from the coalition government.

“I have decided to open the road to elect a new prime minister in this parliament and presented my resignation to the president,” 64-year-old Oli told lawmakers who were set to vote on the no-confidence motion.

Oli tendered his resignation after two key ruling alliance partners — Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic and Rastriya Prajatantra Party — decided to support the no-confidence motion tabled against him by the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-Maoist Centre led by Prachanda.

They had accused Oli of not honouring his past commitments. Maoist chief Prachanda, who is the favourite to replace Oli, on Friday had accused the Prime Minister of being ego-centric and self-centered and said, “This made us unable to continue to work with him.”

Meanwhile, President Bidya Devi Bhandari today accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Oli and asked him to work as caretaker untill the new government is formed, according to a notice issued by the President’s office.

The opposition parties had accused Oli for failing to speed up post-earthquake reconstruction work, control market price and black marketing, maintain transparency and address the demands raised by the agitating Madhesi parties. Sacking of Nepalese ambassador to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyaya, also a Nepali Congress senior leader, last month by the Oli government, had also distanced the ruling alliance from the main opposition party, pointed out observers.

Oli, however, dismissed all the allegations levelled against him by Prachanda and others while responding to the no-trust motion in the 595-member Parliament. He also backed dialogue to address grievances of Madhesis, mostly of Indian-origin, who are opposed to the country’s new Constitution and had launched protests that led to the blockade of key trading points with India.

“The demands of the agitating Madhesi parties could be addressed through peaceful means of dialogue and the Constitution could be amended to accommodate their demands,” he said.

“There is no need to return to the agitation,” Oli said pointing to the Madhesi parties. He also cautioned the people against conspiracy being hatched to drag the country towards “regression”.

He warned that his resignation would have far-reaching implications for the country and lead to further political instability. “There are occasions when those who spoke the truth were penalised and those who stood for patriotism were punished,” he said.

“Nepal is being developed as a laboratory and foreign elements are conspiring not to implement the constitution,” he said, apparently referring to India.

Oli said that he came to power nine months ago when the country was in a grave crisis and was “sad” that the government was changing at a time when it is overcoming the hindrances following last year’s deadly earthquakes that killed nearly 9,000 people.

“The game for a change in the government at this time is mysterious,” the CPN-UML leader said, adding he was punished for doing good work.

The resignation by the Prime Minister has made it easier for the alliance led by Nepali Congress and CPN-Maoist Centre to form a new government.

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