Nepal | August 04, 2020

NCP Standing Committee divided on one-on-one talks

Ram Kumar Kamat
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Kathmandu, July 11

Ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leader Asta Laxmi Shakya said Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli should have used his address to the nation yesterday to calm down youths protesting in the street in his support.

“I was expecting the PM to say that our party had won people’s support and it would not split. I also expected him to calm down the protesters, but he did not mention any of these things in his speech,” Shakya said.

The NCP is plagued by internal rift with the rival faction led by party Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal wanting him to quit the post of prime minister and Oli refusing to quit any of the two post he holds — PM and party co-chair.

Shakya said it was okay for the party to postpone its Standing Committee meeting for a week keeping in mind the risk of extreme weather but the PM should be ready to settle these issues after a week.

“Prolonging the issues will not serve anybody’s interest. It means the differences will keep cropping up and impacting the party,” Shakya argued. She further said the one-on-one meeting between Oli and Dahal would not help resolve the internal feud.

“If the PM does not feel comfortable discussing some issues in front of all the members of the Standing Committee, then he could discuss these issues with the rival faction with both factions including three to four key leaders or they can discuss the issues in the party Secretariat.

But the two co-chairs should not discuss issues themselves,” she argued.

NCP Standing Committee member Beduram Bhusal, who is close to NCP leader Madhav Kumar Nepal said the PM erred in his address to the nation as he mixed politics in his message meant to inform the public about government efforts to deal with natural disasters and coronavirus pandemic. Bhusal said the only option for resolving the internal rift was to discuss all issues in the Standing Committee and follow the body’s decision.

Another Standing Committee member Mani Thapa, who is close to Dahal, however, said the PM’s statement that internal differences could be resolved through dialogue was a sign that differences between Oli and Dahal were narrowing down.

Thapa said he and some other second rung leaders had advised Dahal to focus on one-on-one meeting with Oli as they were both signatories to the unity deal signed between the former CPN- UML and UCPN-Maoist Centre.

Thapa said Oli had been arguing all these weeks that talks should mainly happen between him and Dahal as they were the signatories to the unity deal and that was the reason Dahal had decided to hold one-on-one meetings with Oli.

According to Thapa, Dahal was initially hesitant to hold one-on-one meeting with Oli because he thought that could antagonise his faction leaders, particularly Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jahala Nath Khanal, but he finally greed to hold one-on-one meeting with the PM when some second rung leaders pressed him for the same.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 12, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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