Nepal | September 27, 2020

Bamdev Gautam breaks ranks with Dahal-Nepal faction

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KATHMANDU: Vice-chair of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Bamdev Gautam, who till a few weeks ago was siding with the party’s faction led by Co-Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, today said he was in no camp.Gautam issued a press statement through his Personal Aide Bishwamani Subedi, saying he was not with any camp within the party.

His statement gives some respite to Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who has fallen in minority in the NCP’s Standing Committee and Central Committee.

According to the statement, Gautam told Dahal yesterday when the latter went to meet him at his residence that he was in favour of party unity and he was not with any faction or leader.

Dahal had gone to Gautam’s residence yesterday to ascertain his support in the fight against Oli.

The party’s rival faction led by Dahal and Nepal has asked Oli to step down either as PM or party co-chair, but the PM has refused to quit any post. Oli has told the rival faction that change of party leadership can happen only through the next General Convention and the new PM would be elected only after the new general election.

Subedi said Oli had supported the six-point proposal floated by Gautam on July 28 to save party unity.

On July 28, Gautam mooted a six-point proposal suggesting that Oli be allowed to stay as PM until the term of the House of Representatives ended and chairman of the party until the next General Convention. The proposal adds that Dahal should assume the executive chairperson of the party.

Oli had told Dahal that early General Convention could be held in mid-December to elect new leadership.

He floated this proposal mainly to overcome the challenge posed by the rival faction since Oli knows that it would not be easy for Dahal, who hopes to win the party presidency through consensus, to win the next presidency. Nepal also harbours the ambition of becoming party chief again.

Gautam has love-hate relationship with Oli. Recently, when he tried to make an NCP lawmaker vacate a parliamentary constituency so that he could contest the election, the Oli faction scuttled his plan. Oli’s close confidant Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwar Pokharel vehemently criticised Gautam’s attempt.

Later, Gautam changed tack and told Oli that he would like to be a National Assembly member if the constitution were amended to allow NA members to become PM.

A few months ago, Gautam had agreed to become an NA member, but the PM did not recommend his name to the president because he feared that if Gautam became a lawmaker he would try to change the constitution in an attempt to become the prime minister.

Recently, Gautam told Standing Committee members that a new CPN-UML party had been registered at the Election Commission at the behest of Oli.

What Gautam is doing is nothing new. Vacillation has been in his DNA for a while.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 6, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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