The Election Commission has not yet decided which faction of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) – the Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli-led faction or the one led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal is the authentic NCP.

Lilamani Pokharel, a leader of the Dahal-Nepal faction, said the poll panel appeared to be waiting for the Supreme Court's verdict on the House of Representatives dissolution case.

"The Election Commission should not wait for the Supreme Court to take a call on which faction is the authentic party. This issue should be settled irrespective of the SC's verdict on the House dissolution case," he said.

If the SC decides to reinstate the House of Representatives, invalidating the prime minister's move to dissolve the Lower House, then there won't be mid-term elections scheduled for April 30 and May 10.

The Dahal-Nepal faction has objected to the EC's January 24 decision that refused to validate the changes made in the party leadership by both Oli and Dahal factions.

The Dahal faction had picked Nepal as a co-chairperson of the NCP after removing Oli from the post.

On the other hand, Oli had inducted more than 500 central committee members and stripped Dahal of executive powers.

The poll panel had ruled that both Oli and Dahal were co-chairpersons of the party.

The Dahal-Nepal faction has claimed that since it has the support of almost two-thirds of the party's Central Committee members, the poll panel should give legitimacy to its faction.

Spokesperson for the EC Raj Kumar Shrestha said the Election Commissioners would soon take a call on the issue.

"It's been almost 10-12 days since election commissioners told us that they would take a call within days. They have not taken a decision yet. They will take a call soon. People are free to draw their conclusions,"

Shrestha said when asked whether the poll panel was waiting for the Supreme Court verdict in the HoR dissolution case.

Shrestha said the EC was preparing for the elections and would place an advertisement in tomorrow's newspapers seeking supply of materials needed at polling booths on the Election Day, including stamps.

He said the EC would ideally want to settle the NCP legitimacy row before registering political parties for the midterm polls, but if it failed to do that, it could still settle the issue after parties finished the registration process.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 23, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.