Ruling Nepal Communist Party’s Standing Committee in limbo


Co-chair of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s attempt to convince Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who also co-chairs the party, to attend the Standing Committee meeting has not succeeded even after holding multiple rounds of meetings with Oli in the past one week.

Dahal’s frustration was reflected yesterday when he interacted with a group of journalists along with other senior leaders of the party — Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal and Narayan Kaji Shrestha. Dahal said the tussle with Oli was not for party positions but for upholding the rule of law within the party.

Oli, who had been asked by majority members of the Standing Committee, including Dahal and Nepal, to quit either the PM or party co-chair’s post, had unilaterally postponed the Standing Committee meeting on July 28, incurring the wrath of the rival faction led by Dahal and Nepal. The rival faction held a meeting of the Standing Committee in the absence of Oli and his supporters the same day and termed Oli’s decision to postpone the meeting unfair and against party rules and norms.

The Oli faction, however, refused to recognise the Dahal faction’s meeting as official Standing Committee meeting.

Asked how long the Standing Committee members would wait for Oli to call the Standing Committee meeting again, NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said they would wait for a few days. The PM has fallen in minority in the Standing Committee and Central Committee and he has been avoiding the Standing Committee meeting.

A Standing Committee member told THT that the current feud between Oli and the rival faction was a by-product of Oli’s defiance of party rules. “At present, we want to establish that everybody abides by party decisions, but in the long run we also want to pursue the goals of socialism for which we need to chart out a course,” the Standing Committee member said, adding, “It is a question of whether we are truly committed to Marxism or we are just treating Marxism as a trademark.”

Another Standing Committee member Yubaraj Gyawali, who is close to Nepal, said the PM would eventually have to attend the Standing Committee meeting.

“Dahal has been holding talks with the PM to convince him that he should attend the Standing Committee meeting, but the PM has been saying that there is no need to hold Standing Committee meeting and agreement between him and Dahal would be enough to resolve the deadlock in the party,” Gyawali said.

He said the two co-chairpersons could agree on certain issues, but their consent would just be treated as a proposal and the party body would take a final call on all the agenda that the Standing Committee has been discussing for the past few weeks.

He said Standing Committee members of the party were experienced leaders with some associated with the party for up to 50 years. “They know what issues they would tackle and how. We as Standing Committee members are analysing where we should have liberal approach and where we need to be rigid,” Gyawali said. He added that the current fight within the party was not for party or government position but for upholding the rule of law and principles.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 7, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.