South Asia and Beyond

‘Nepal’s Political Class Prefers Politics To Fighting Covid’

NEW DELHI: Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has shown a remarkable ability to outmaneuver his political rivals, says Yubaraj Ghimire, well known Nepali journalist and editor of Deshsanchar.com. In an exclusive chat with StratNews Global from Kathmandu, Ghimire says what happens on Thursday is crucial. It is the last day for political parties to stake their claim to form a government. If they do not come forward and Oli does, he could continue as caretaker prime minister until elections are held in six months. That could give him enough time to win friends and influence people.

The excessive focus on politics has left people at the mercies of the covid surge now sweeping Nepal. In what appears to be a replay of the situation in India, there’s a shortage of everything from vaccines to oxygen cylinders and hospital beds. The Chinese are helping but getting medical materials to the right place and in the right quantity is proving difficult.

Ghimire believes the Chinese have been able to entrench themselves in Nepal and while they say their focus is on economic and medical help, everything they do has a political message to it. India has not lost ground in terms of how it is perceived in social terms but politically, Delhi seems to be on the backfoot.

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