"If Nepal continues to ignore call for party unity he will be isolated"

Kathmandu, June 21

The Madhav Kumar Nepal-Jhalanath Khanal faction and the establishment faction of the CPN-UML have held multiple rounds of talks in the past few days, without yielding anything positive.

UML leader Bhim Acharya, who is close to senior CPN-UML leader Jhalanath Khanal, said if everything went as planned, the two factions would be able to reconcile their differences and maintain party unity within a week.

He, however, said that there was no option but to revive all the party committees and structures that existed before the CPN-UML's merger with the CPN-Maoist Centre for maintaining party unity. He added that that was the essence of the appeal Khanal issued before flying to New Delhi for treatment.

He said UML needed to stay united as it was the largest party in the country. "If UML disintegrates, it can lead to negative consequence for democracy and federalism," he said.

Deputy parliamentary party leader of UML Subas Chandra Nembang, who is close to party Chair and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, said talks were continuing with the Madhav Kumar Nepal-Jhalanath Khanal faction, but had not yet produced any concrete results. He said talks would continue nonetheless.

UML Chief Whip Bishal Bhattarai, who is close to Oli, said the PM had already said he was ready to revive party committees that existed before the UML's merger with the CPN-MC. Bhattarai claimed that a large percentage of cadres who had initially supported Nepal were returning to the Oli faction and efforts to weaken the rival faction would continue.

He said if Nepal continued to ignore call for party unity he would be isolated.

According to Bhattarai, his faction would take a final call on the unity issue after the Supreme Court delivers its verdict in a petition his faction filed against the court's verdict that stayed the expulsion of four Karnali Provincial Assembly members -

Prakash Jwala, Amar Bahadur Thapa, Kurma Raj Shahi, and Nanda Singh Budha - close to Nepal. "Allowing party lawmakers to act independent of the party will ruin the party system. We have filed a petition against the court verdict in favour of the four UML lawmakers of Karnali PA," Bhattarai added.

Nepal, meanwhile, wrote on Twitter that the establishment faction's move seeking reversal of the Supreme Court's interim order that stayed the expulsion of four Karnali PA members would derail efforts to save party unity.

A Nepal-Khanal faction negotiator, who has held multiple rounds of talks with leaders of the Oli faction, said talks were not held in the last two days but that did not mean the talks would not continue.

He said multiple rounds of negotiations did make some progress, but a breakthrough could not be achieved because the Oli faction did not commit to reviving all party committees that existed before the UML's merger with the CPN-MC.

As the factional feud intensified within the UML, Oli expelled some leaders, including Nepal, from the party. The Khanal-Nepal faction, on the other hand, has formed parallel committees across the country.

A version of this article appears in the print on June 22, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.