Nepal | July 09, 2020

NCP unity hangs in balance

Uncertainty looms large whether the party will complete its merger on the stipulated deadline of April 22

Jagdishor Panday
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Kathmandu, April 20

Although Nepal Communist Party (NCP) co-chairs KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal have told their confidants they might complete the remaining work of party unification, especially formation of district committees by April 22, many party leaders believe it will take more time to complete the task of unification.

Unification issues remain unresolved mainly because of differences between Oli and Madhav Kumar Nepal.

NCP leaders say completion of unification work on April 22 would be good as it would coincide with the inception of Nepal Communist Party.

The ruling NCP has already booked Nepal Academy Hall in Kamladi for Monday, but many party leaders told THT that they were not hopeful the top leaders would be able to complete unification on that day. “It will be a miracle of sorts if unification is completed on Monday,” said NCP (NCP) leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

It has been 11 months since the two communist parties — then CPN-UML and the then Nepal Communist Party-Maoist Centre merged to create the NCP (NCP), stating that the party’s merger process would be completed within three months.

Oli and Dahal face criticism also for not forming the politburo and allocating responsibilities to party leaders.

Formation of district level committees remains the bone of contention mainly between the Oli faction and Nepal faction. Nepal had opposed formation of provincial committees saying he was ignored during the process.

In the past, the former UML and the then CPN-MC had agreed to claim leadership of 45 and 32 districts respectively.

There is not much resistance in those districts allotted to the former CPN-MC for leadership of the district chapters, but there is much resistance from the former UML leaders in those districts allotted to them.

In the last one week, PM Oli discussed unity issues with top leaders of the party, particularly with Nepal, but failed to convince him.

PM Oli had even sought Dahal’s help to convince Nepal, on the formation of district committees.

The Nepal faction wants to form district chapters mainly on the basis of seniority of party leaders because it thinks if this happens, most district leaders will get the chance to lead district chapters.

The Oli faction, on the other hand, wants to take a more liberal approach towards forming the district chapters because it believes that if this happens, Oli can pick his loyalists in district leadership positions.

The stakes are high for Oli, Dahal and Nepal as the district committees will play a key role in determining the outcome of the next general convention of the party.

While Dahal and Nepal have shown their desire to lead the party from the next general convention, Oli has not made his intention clear yet.

Rajan Bhattarai, the foreign affairs adviser to PM Oli, said both the cochairs were working hard to finish the remaining tasks of unification. “The only issue that remains to be settled are related to formation of district committees and sister wings of the party.

Both the co-chairs are committed to resolve these issues,” he said.

Standing Committee member of the party Bhim Rawal, who is close to Madhav Kumar Nepal, told THT that completion of unification would show how the party would be run in future. “Unification should be completed as soon as possible on the bases of certain criteria,” he said.

The NCP’s Standing Committee had, on December 20, formed a task force under Ram Bahadur Thapa, to expedite the remaining work of the merger, but it failed to summit its report because of factional feud between Oli and Nepal camps. Later, on February 22, the task force was dissolved.

Another Standing Committee member from Nepal faction Ghana Shyam Bhusal told THT that the party’s chairs couldn’t come up with a final decision before introducing their unification plan to the Standing Committee and taking its consent.

A version of this article appears in print on April 21, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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