Nepal | April 05, 2020

NCP unification process at lower levels hangs in balance

Rewati Sapkota

No possibility of completing the remaining task without discussion among top leaders

Kathmandu, April 6

Unification process of the lower level committees of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) failed to make any headway after the party’s Co-chair and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli restricted senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal from attending the top-level meeting to reach a consensus on the modality of the unification process.

According to a senior leader, the rift between Oli and Nepal has further widened after Nepal faction unilaterally announced a few names of the leaders to be represented in the leadership position of the lower committees.

“Oli doesn’t want Nepal to attend the top-level meeting to finalise the unification process,” a high-level NCP source said.

On the one hand, Oli has refused to entertain Nepal’s proposal, while on the other, the Nepal faction stated that the party unification process could not be finalised in Nepal’s absence in the top-level meet.

During a meeting held at Oli’s residence today as well, party’s Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal requested Oli to allow Nepal in the high-command meeting to settle the longstanding dispute. “Oli, however, rejected Dahal’s request,” a source close to Dahal told THT, adding that today’s meeting had also ended inconclusively.

Another NCP leader close to Nepal said Oli’s unilateral move irked many in the party’s rank and file. “We all need to sit together to finalise the unification process,” he said. The Nepal faction also claimed that Oli had been preparing his own list for the leadership in the lower committees in consultation with Dahal.

“There is no possibility to complete the remaining task of party unification without intensifying discussion among the top leaders, including Nepal,” said an NCP leader.

Oli had consulted Dahal, Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal and Bamdev Gautam on March 14 on party unification. Since then, Oli never allowed Nepal to attend the top-level meeting to discuss the unification process, the source said.

NCP’s Standing Committee member Beduram Bhusal also said Oli, Dahal and Nepal should sit together to form a common stand on the party unification process.

Oli and Dahal have been publicly saying that the party unity will be completed by April 22 on the day of the establishment of the erstwhile Communist Party.

The Nepal faction has already warned that it would announce a parallel committee if Oli and Dahal failed to address their demands.

The nine-member task force, which had been formed to finalise district committees, departments and sister organisation structures, was dissolved three months before the deadline without reaching consensus. The secretariat had given a responsibility to Oli and Dahal to finalise the party unity after the task force got dissolved.

NCP unity has been in limbo due to conflict of interest among the top leaders in ensuring the representation of their factions in the committees.

Nepal faction has been opposing provincial committees which were decided and announced in his absence. Nepal faction has also been pushing for the inclusion of their leaders in districts and lower level committees.

The NCP has only finalised unification process at the central and provincial levels within 10 months of its party unity.

Oli and Dahal have an understanding that erstwhile UML will have 45 leadership positions in the districts while the then Maoist Centre will hold 32 leadership positions.

They have also reached an understanding that if erstwhile UML leader heads the district committees, erstwhile MC will assume the post of secretary and vice-versa.

Earlier, the Secretariat had endorsed an idea that one holding the cabinet portfolio will not be eligible for party responsibility.

However, Oli has not been abiding by this standard.

Some 15 districts committees have already reached a consensus on party unity, but those committees are waiting standing committee’s approval. “It remains nonfunctional without top leaders’ approval,” a leader said. Party Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said he had no idea regarding the homework Oli and Dahal have been doing to address the issues.

A version of this article appears in print on April 07, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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