Rival NCP faction miffed at Prime Minister Oli

Kathmandu, April 26

The president repealed the ordinances related to Constitutional Council Act and Political Party Act on the recommendation of the Council of Ministers yesterday after the prime minister drew flak from both his ruling party leaders and opposition parties.

However, the rival faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by party Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal is in no mood to bury the hatchet against the PM.

Dahal and other influential leaders of the party Madhav Kumar Nepal,  Jhalanath Khanal and Narayan Kaji Shrestha continue to pressure PM Oli to call a meeting of the Standing Committee where they could grill the PM as to why he did not consult the party on some issues of national importance, including those of the ordinances.

Standing Committee member Beduram Bhusal, who is close to Madhav Kumar Nepal, told THT that as per the party statute, the PM, who is also the co-chair of the party was required to call a meeting of the Standing Committee in three months, but it’s been more than three months and the PM had not called a meeting of the party body.

Twenty Standing Committee members of the party have submitted their demand in writing to the PM asking him to call a meeting of the Standing Committee soon, but the PM has told them that as the issue of ordinances had already been resolved with their repeal, there was no need to call the Standing Committee meeting soon.

Bhusal said although the PM was trying to delay the meeting of the Standing Committee, he would have to call the meeting within a few days because 20 Standing Committee members had submitted an application for a meeting.

“This is a party statute provision which the PM cannot ignore,” he said. The fact that the PM’s faction is angry with the rival faction can be seen from the prime minister’s Press Advisor Surya Thapa’s Facebook post that blasts the rival faction’s attempt to censure the prime minister. The PM has fallen in minority in all of the party’s key political bodies — Secretariat, Standing Committee, and Central Committee. “People of the country gave almost two-thirds majority to the party as the country had gone through the cycle of hung Parliament, but after party leaders started look for spoils, they have rendered the party into a hung outfit. Conspiracies are being hatched one after the other against party unity. It is shameful that attempts are being made to seize a government that has successfully stemmed the threat of COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.

When asked if the PM would call the Standing Committee meeting, Thapa said: “How can that be possible when the country is under lockdown.” A Standing Committee member who is among the 20 members who have demanded a meeting of the party’s top body, told THT that the next meeting of the CC would review the government’s performance, including some of the controversies that had tarnished the party’s image and could ask the prime minister to apologise for his mistakes.  When asked if he would ask the PM to step-down, the member said: “Nothing is impossible in politics.”

Standing Committee member Haribol Gajurel said the PM was not following the communist party’s rule in governance. “In a country ruled by communist government, the executive head follows the direction of the party, but here the PM is not following that rule,” he said and added that in the days ahead party leaders would put pressure on the PM to abide by the communist party’s norms. “When you have an upgraded car, either the driver has to update his driving skills to drive the car or he should quit,” he said in an indirect reference to the PM.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on April 27, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.