'I am not expelled from the party's general membership, just relieved of my responsibility'

DHANGADHI: Sudurpaschim Province’s Social Development Minister Dirgha Bahadur Sodari was expelled from Nepal Communist Party (NCP) after the party's top leaders gave directive for the same. The party chair and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli at his official residence in Baluwatar had instructed the province's chief minister and other members of the provincial committee to remove Sodari from the party membership, a source informed.

NCP Far-west Province Committee Chairperson Karna Thapa attributed Sodari’s dismissal from ministerial berth to the complaints against his financial irregularities among other issues based on moral ground, along with the evidence found. The province in charge and party's senior member Bhim Rawal, CM Trilochan Bhatta and Thapa had consulted with the PM over the sacking of the provincial minister.

The source has also informed that a recorded phone conversation of the sacked Minister Sodari was also played before the party's Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, at Baluwatar. It has been learned that Sodari was offered the ministerial berth on the recommendation of Rawal despite objection from Oli.

However, provincial committee secretary Nep Bahadur Chaudhary said that Sodari was expelled through a required procedure. He said the provincial committee was authorised by the party centre to expel the provincial minister from the party’s general membership.

Expelled Sodari was the chairperson of NCP (NCP) Kailali and had been the chair of the then CPN-UML Kailali in the immediate past. Sodari was closer to Ghanashyam Bhusal and Yogesh Bhattarai in Madhav Kumar Nepal-led faction in the party. It has been learnt that Minister Sodari who was aggressive in nature had been facing a family crisis.

Meanwhile, the expelled minister has affirmed the action taken against him by the party on the directive issued by PM and party chair Oli. He said he respected the party's rules. He said, "I am not expelled from the party's general membership, just relieved of my responsibility."

On a different note, Sodari said he was obliged to the party and claimed that the party had achieved victory with majority in Kailali for the first time under his leadership.

Although Sodari was sacked by the chief minister and his general membership was terminated by his party, he will continue to serve as a provincial assembly member.

The party had eyed the provincial minister after his official vehicle was involved in a road accident in Kailali on the night of 'Bhaitika' on November 9.