Nepal | August 13, 2020

Rift between NCP co-chairs widens

Oli puts off Standing Committee meeting, Dahal goes ahead with it without PM or his supporters

RAM KUMAR KAMAT
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KATHMANDU, JULY 28

Rift between the co-chairs of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) deepened further today, as Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli unilaterally postponed the scheduled meeting of the party’s Standing Committee.

The rival faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, however, held the Standing Committee meeting in the absence of Oli and termed Oli’s unilateral move to postpone the meeting against the party statute, Standing Committee member Asta Laxmi Shakya told THT. Thirty-one members of the Standing Committee close to Dahal and Nepal were present in the meeting who also asked Dahal to talk to Oli and fix the next Standing Committee meeting with his consent.

Before the Standing Committee meeting today, Dahal and senior leader Jhalanath Khanal had gone to meet Oli to request him to attend the Standing Committee meeting, but they failed to convince him. Almost a dozen members of the Standing Committee who are close to Oli also did not attend the meeting.

Some members of the Standing Committee had already reached the meeting venue in Baluwatar and others were on their way when NCP party Secretariat announced that today’s meeting of the party body had been put off, as Oli and Dahal had not prepared proposals to be presented in the meeting as per the directive of the party Secretariat.

When this message of postponement was disseminated by PM’s Press Adviser Surya Thapa, Standing Committee members called Dahal to enquire about the postponement, but Dahal told them that he had not consented to the postponement.

“Oli had asked me yesterday and today about the postponement of today’s Standing Committee meeting, but I had told him that postponing the meeting again would be wrong,” said Shakya.

She said Oli was in no mood to iron out differences with the other faction. “He has been avoiding Standing Committee meetings. He does not want to listen to party leaders’ views.

How can he run the party?”

Shakya wondered. She said leaders could take decision against Oli on the basis of majority, but they had shown restraint for the sake of party unity.

Deputy parliamentary party leader of the NCP Subas Chandra Nembang, who is close to Oli, said the meeting that Dahal/ Nepal faction claimed to have held today was not an official meeting. He added that was clear from their own decision to urge Dahal to call the next meeting with Oli’s consent. He said Oli had waited for Dahal for almost two hours in the morning for consultation, but Dahal did not turn up for the one-on-one meeting with the PM.

Both co-chairs were supposed to dwell on the party’s early general convention as mandated by the party Secretariat.

Meanwhile, NCP Vice-chair Bamdev Gautam today issued a six-point statement to prevent a split in the party. Gautam said Oli should continue to hold the post of party’s co-chair till the unity convention and should continue as the PM till the next general election. He added that Dahal should continue to have executive powers and the next General Convention should be held on the basis of consensus.

He said the party should not interfere in the government’s day-to-day functioning, but the PM must consult the party Secretariat before taking decisions on key national and international issues. Gautam asked the PM to reshuffle his Cabinet after consulting the party Secretariat.

Dahal added that party meetings should be held at party headquarters. The ruling party has been holding its Secretariat and Standing Committee meetings at the PM’s official residence in Baluwatar.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 29, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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