Narayan Kaji Shrestha, spokesperson for the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal, today wrote an angry post on his facebook wall against the Election Commission for delaying its decision on the NCP legitimacy row.

Rival factions of the NCP led by Dahal-Nepal and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli have made counter claims about their respective groups being the legitimate party.

Shrestha wondered why the EC did not update the details of leadership change his faction had made and why it was not settling the legitimacy row when his faction had invoked the dispute settlement clause of the Political Party Registration Act raised by the Electron Commission.

Shrestha said the EC, which refused to settle the legitimacy row first by saying his faction did not invoke the dispute settlement clause of the relevant Act, was not taking a call after his party did the same.

"The Supreme Court has delivered its verdict in favour of the constitution and democracy, thereby foiling all regressive conspiracy and pressure and intimidation.

This verdict has inspired everybody, but what is the Election Commission doing? Will the EC be used to fulfil regressive design?" Shrestha wrote in his Facebook post. He further wrote: "Will the EC be used as a weapon to stall the implementation of a positive outlet given by the Supreme Court. Will the EC be used to override the constitution and the law, which was saved by the Supreme Court verdict? These are the questions being raised these days?"

He said he did not want to question the motives of the EC, but people had raised questions against the polls panel because it had failed to take a call as per the constitution and the prevailing laws. Shrestha said the EC must take a call on the NCP legitimacy row as the date for commencement of the new session of Parliament had already been fixed or else the poll panel's role would be questioned. Shrestha said if the EC delayed its decision and foiled the outlet given by the Supreme Court, and if that intensified the political crisis, then the EC must be held responsible for it. "Let's hope that the EC does not allow such a situation to emerge and shatter people's faith in constitutional bodies, which was restored by the Supreme Court's verdict.

The Dahal-Nepal faction's legal counsel Senior Advocate Mukti Narayan Pradhan said it was not difficult to understand that the government was putting undue pressure on the EC not to settle the NCP authenticity row, but if EC office bearers were being intimidated or influenced by the government then it proved that the office bearers were not efficient in shouldering their constitutional and legal duties.

It is a universally accepted rule that the party belongs to those who have majority. The Dahal-Nepal faction has two-thirds majority in the Parliament and yet the EC is not taking a call on the legitimacy row, Pradhan said. He said the polls panel must say yes or no on the Dahal-Nepal faction's claim to be the authentic NCP.

Election Commissioner Ram Prasad Bhandari, who is looking into the Dahal-Nepal faction's claim, said the polls panel would take a call at an appropriate time. He, however, failed to give a timeline for resolving the issue.

Bhandari said the EC had taken a decision on February 11 and nobody had challenged that decision.

On February 11, the EC had invalidated the change made in leadership by the rival faction, which meant it refused to give legitimacy to the Dahal-Nepal faction's decision to remove PM Oli from the post of party co-chair and general member. Similarly, the polls panel refused to validate the Oli factions' decision to add more than 500 members to the Central Committee.

A version of this article appears in the print on February 28, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.