Kathmandu, May 10 -- No symptom of Nepal's current malaise could be more symbolic than a prime minister seeking a confidence vote in a crowded Parliament in the middle of a raging pandemic.

Of the 1,300 people tested last week for Monday's House session, 27 MPs and 140 parliamentary secretariat staff came out positive. Yet it went ahead.

Prime Minister K P Oli called the Special Session of the 271-member Lower House that he himself had dissolved in December, and which was later reinstated by the Supreme Court, to seek the vote.

Of the 232 members present, Oli got only 93, and 124 MPs voted against him. Out of 121 of his own UML party's members, 28 from the dissident faction were not present, and 15 MPs voted not to vote. The anti-Oli f...