NCP Standing Committee meeting unlikely before COVID threat subsides


The faction of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal will wait until the threat of COVID-19 pandemic subsides in Kathmandu, before calling for resumption of the Standing Committee meeting.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had unilaterally postponed the Standing Committee meeting on July 28. The NCP Standing Committee member Yubaraj Gyawali, who is close to Nepal, told THT that Dahal was on wait and watch mode as there had been a sharp surge in COVID-19 infections in Kathmandu of late. “Dahal wants to resume the Standing Committee meeting, but since personal aides and personal security officers of leaders also gather at the meeting venue, it could be risky to hold the meeting at this stage,” Gyawali added.

He, however, said that PM Oli, who has been avoiding the Standing Committee meeting, had no option but to attend the meeting. “We have the majority in the party so we cannot think of splitting the party. PM Oli is in minority in the party bodies and if he splits the party, he would be the biggest loser, although the split would affect both the party and the nation,” Gyawali added.

He said PM Oli wanted Co-chair Dahal to settle any issue with him and not take the issue to the Standing Committee, but PM Oli would not succeed in his mission as the NCP believed in collective leadership.

The Standing Committee, which had discussed some agenda earlier, had not yet discussed the crucial agenda of government and party’s performance and COVID-19 pandemic. According to Gyawali, the rift between Oli and Dahal had widened further after PM Oli appointed ‘go-between’ Sushil Bhatta as the CEO of Investment Board Nepal. A member of the NCP Standing Committee said the cold war between Dahal and Oli faction will continue for sometimes as the Dahal faction was not ready to risk any punitive action against Oli for fear of Oli splitting the party or even mustering support of majority members of the lawmakers in the Parliamentary party.

PM Oli has been using all kinds of tactics to remain in power. One the one hand, he has been playing anti-India card to win public support and on the other, he has been using power, resources and national and international support to bring more lawmakers into his fold. PM Oli has also been trying to neutralise those leaders that are not in his fold. Bamdev Gautam’s recent clarification that he is not in any camp of the party is an evidence of this,” he said.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 13, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.