Nepal | May 24, 2020

Dispute over issue of single leadership in all levels of NCP-led govts

Rewati Sapkota
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Nepal faction says the idea goes against party statute

Kathmandu, February 23

The  conflict continues between Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Madhav Kumar Nepal faction which  advocates  one person, one post and party  Co-chair KP Sharma Oli’s faction, which  wants the party committee chiefs to head both the government and party posts where the party has won,  to  apply  in all  761 governments — federal, provincial and local levels —  and all party committees.

Gandaki province Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung, who is close to Oli told THT that if this rule of party chiefs holding both party and government positions was not applied, there would be two power centres and that could lead to tussle between party leaders.

Gurung cited the example of Province 1 and 3 where the post of party chief and the CM are held by different persons. In Province 1, the CM is Sher Dhan Rai and the party In-Charge is Bhim Acharya. In Province 3, the CM is Dor Mani Poudel and party In-Charge is Asta Laxmi Shakya. In both provinces, relations between the CM and party in-charge are strained.

Acharya and Shakya both consider themselves senior to their chief ministers. Acharya is close to Jhalanath Khanal while Shakya is close to Nepal, while Rai and Poudel are close to Oli.

Oli had advocated ‘one man, one post’ rule 16 years ago when Nepal was the general secretary of the erstwhile CPN-UML and Oli was a senior leader.

Gurung termed Nepal’s advocacy for ‘one person, one post’ an opportunist demand as he did not apply this rule when he was the UML general secretary. Gurung said his faction was of the view that a party leader can assume one major and another minor role.

In a communist party, Gurung argued, the party’s position is higher than the government’s. “But in practice, chief of government is higher than party chief. If a junior leader becomes chief of party, can s/he play the role of chief of government effectively?” Gurung wondered. Gurung also said if both the posts of government and party were not held by the same leader, the government post holder might not feel comfortable with the party chief, who may be junior to him.

Gurung’s statement comes at a time when Nepal faction has been opposing Province 5 CM Shankar Pokharel and Gandaki Province CM Gurung for holding both positions — chief of party as well as government.

“The party should follow our idea,” Gurung said, adding, “The chief of government cannot work properly if the party chief is a different leader because that person may want to control the government chief.” According to Gurung, the chiefs of municipalities should be leaders in the local levels as well.

An NCP secretariat member who is close to Nepal said his faction had told the party that leaders and cadres should follow the party statute rather than individuals. The party statute says leaders and cadres should follow the ‘one person, one post’ principle.

“Oli and his loyalists’ arguments are baseless and go against the party statute,” he told THT.

PM Oli who had raised the issue of ‘one person, one post’ in the 7th party convention to ensure internal democracy, leads the party and the government now.

According to Gurung, when Nepal was the general secretary of the erstwhile CPN-UML, his faction had held important departments, including organisation and foreign affairs, but they did not follow the ‘one man, one post’ principle then.

A version of this article appears in print on February 24, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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