Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s veiled threats on the “intellectual community” during a televised show on Wednesday night has drawn widespread attention and criticism, including on social media platforms, where many accused him of making remarks that are beneath the office of the prime minister.
Oli appeared on the fortnightly interview show “Janata Sanga Pradhanmantri”—Prime Minister with the public—on the state-owned Nepal Television, during which he took a swipe at what he called the intellectual community, threatening them for making “uncivilized and cheap comments” against him and his administration.
“If I respond to the comments made by some intellects, they will be bedridden,” the prime minister said during the interview. “Before going to the media, if they come to me for discussion and if I will respond, there is a chance they will be bedridden, which I don’t want.”
The prime minister did not name any individuals but he spoke to them directly on television and asked if he should reveal what he knows about them.
“Do these intellects want to discuss with me what they know,” Oli said in the interview. “They should be warned of—and careful about—what will happen to them if the truth comes out.”
This wasn’t the first time Oli had made such harsh remarks against those who criticise him, his working style, and his government. After the perennial attack against the administration since he took office earlier this year, Oli had come down heavily against his own party leaders and cadres for not defending the good work of the government and asking them to respond to the criticism.
A former justice, who was part of the government during the autocratic Panchayat era, said Oli’s attack reminded him of the pre-1990 administration, during which the government was frequently criticised for its policies and it would return threats at those making the criticisms.
“Oli does not want to see any kind of opposition because he is a communist prime minister,” said Gauri Bahadur Karki, a former attorney during the Panchayat regime.
“He just wants everyone to support him and that is not possible in a democracy.”