Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said rival faction leaders, who have supported Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba's bid to form a new government under Article 76 (5), should withdraw their support before the Supreme Court delivers its verdict in the House of Representatives dissolution case.

Addressing the Central Committee meeting here today, PM Oli said those party leaders that support the rival party leader's bid for prime ministership cannot be loyal party workers and nobody should have any doubt about their intentions.

Some members of the dissolved House of Representatives, who were close to UML leader Madhav Kumar Nepal had signed Deuba's petition expressing support to him when he staked claim to form a new government under Article 76 (5).

Most of those members who had supported Deuba's bid for prime ministership also filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking reinstatement of the HoR, which is sub judice now.

The prime minister's Press Adviser Surya Thapa briefed mediapersons after the Central Committee meeting saying the PM had directed party leaders to choose before the SC verdict in the HoR dissolution case whether they wanted to remain in the party or were willing to join the opposition alliance. "If some party leaders have mistakenly joined the opposition alliance, they are requested to return to the party fold before the SC delivers its verdict," Thapa said.

Meanwhile, second rung leaders from both factions - the establishment faction led by party Chair and PM Oli and the rival faction led by former prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal held talks to iron out differences, but failed to reach a conclusion.

Bhim Acharya, who is close to Khanal, said both sides agreed to continue unity talks. He said PM Oli held telephonic conversation with Madhav Kumar Nepal today and urged him to withdraw his signature, but Nepal did not accept his condition. "There should be no condition for unity. We have been telling the establishment faction that we cannot accept any condition for unity," he said and added that his faction also told the establishment faction leaders that unity talks should be held formally by the taskforce members.

The taskforce had became defunct after the establishment faction expelled some leaders from the rival faction for anti-party activities.

The Nepal-Khanal faction has been saying it cannot withdraw support to Deuba as the move was aimed at saving the constitution and democracy.

The rival faction has termed PM Oli's move of dissolving the HoR a regressive step that could risk the hardearned political gains institutionalised by the constitution.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 4 2021, of The Himalayan Times.