The establishment faction of the CPN-UML today held its standing committee meeting and decided not to vote in favour of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba during the floor test.

Briefing the standing committee decisions to mediapersons, UML Spokesperson Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said the party decided to stick to its earlier decision of not supporting the Deuba government. He said lawmakers who voted in favour of Deuba would be expelled from the party.

Deuba became the new prime minister under Article 76 (5) of the constitution after the Supreme Court reinstated the House of Representatives and directed the president to appoint Deuba the PM under the article as he had submitted the signatures of 149 members of the dissolved House on May 21 when he staked claim to form the new government.

The SC had clearly stated in its verdict that parties could not issue whip for floor test under Article 76 (5) and lawmakers were free to support a candidate's bid for prime ministership under the article irrespective of their parties' stance. Gyawali said members of the dissolved taskforce to iron out difference between the two factions of the party today met Madhav Kumar Nepal but he told them that he would vote in favour of Deuba even if every other UML lawmaker did the opposite.

Gyawali said even members of the dissolved taskforce who were close to Nepal asked him to stick to the party's institutional decision on the issue of the vote of confidence, but Nepal refused to accept their argument.

Asked if the chances of Nepal remaining in the UML were slim, Gyawali said Nepal wanted to choose a different path.

Bhim Acharya, who is close to Jhalanath Khanal, told mediapersons today that Deuba's decision to go for the floor test on the first day of the HoR session was intended to split the UML.

Gyawali also condemned Deuba's decision to seek the vote of confidence on the first day of the HoR session as contrary to the practice of not conducting substantial business on the first day of the session.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 19 2021, of The Himalayan Times.