Oli’s advisers have planned the optics well–a raised platform at the gates of Narayanhiti that shows support for restoration of a Hindu monarchy. Oli’s supporters have denied that there is any message in the location, but the prime minister himself has been sending out not-so-subtle signals.
In his interview with India’s Zee News last month, Oli expounded at considerable length about Nepal’s Vedic past. Earlier this week, he made a high profile visit to Pashupati to offer prayers, and sanctioned 140kg of gold to be used to decorate the Shiva shrine at a cost of Rs1 billion. In Chitwan, he reiterated the theory that Lord Ram was born in Nepal.
Analysts have also taken the Nepal Army’s decision to conduct a drill on the Ring Road with a parade of armoured personnel carriers on Tuesday night as another warning by the Defence Ministry. For many, this was a warning, especially since it coincided with the military coup in Burma that same day.
Then, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa paid a visit to Nakkhu Jail, ostensibly on an inspection, but he made no effort to hide his meeting with incarcerated former Maoist comrades of the underground Biplav faction.
Oli’s supporters have tried to play down the significance of the Narayanhiti venue, saying that since the Khula Manch has been turned into a parking lot, there is no street wide enough to pack 200,000 people.
All this is happening while the Supreme Court is debating 13 writ petitions against Oli’s dissolution of the House, as well as multiple contempt of court petitions against Oli, Dahal, Nepal and other leaders.