NCP statute amendment on cards

Kathmandu, January 15

A nine-member task force of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is gearing up to propose amendments to the party’s statute to address demands put forth by a faction led by senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal.

Factions led by Nepal and NCP Co-chairperson KP Sharma Oli are at loggerheads over formation of the party’s provincial committees. The Nepal faction has accused Oli of forming committees sidelining leaders from his faction and has demanded reshuffling of committees. However, the Oli faction is adamant not to reshuffle the committees.

Against this backdrop, the task force is preparing to propose increasing the number of members of committees by amending the statute to accommodate leaders close to Nepal in the panels, a party insider told THT.

Sources say members of the task force close to Prime Minister Oli — General Secretary Bishnu Poudel and Province 5 Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel — are against dissolving or restructuring provincial committees.

An NCP leader said the task force would hold discussions with co-chairs Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Nepal before making any recommendation.

However, discussions are unlikely to be held anytime soon because Oli is scheduled to visit Switzerland to participate in the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos in the third week of January. Also, most of the task force members are in their hometowns to celebrate Makar Sankranti. This also means that the task force, which was supposed to submit its report on Thursday, will find it difficult to submit it even by January-end.

As per the party statute, a provincial committee will have 151 members, including chairpersons and secretaries. Two members from each of the constituencies in the province can be inducted in the committee. The provincial secretariat’s strength cannot exceed one-third of the number of provincial committee members. There will be nine office-bearers.

The statute also provisions that provincial committees will lead provincial assemblies and governments and local governments. As per the statute, provincial committees can recommend political appointments, set levy rates and set up an economic fund, besides mobilising it. They can also form an advisory council and senior communists’ forum. These two bodies’ strength will not exceed 50 per cent of the number of provincial committee members.

NCP Secretariat member Bamdev Gautam had suggested ensuring 33 per cent women representation in the party’s federal, provincial and local committees. Women representation in the 441-member NCP central committee stands at 17 per cent. An additional 77 women members are needed to ensure 33 per cent women representation in the committee.

As per the constitutional provision, the party should ensure 33 per cent women representation in provincial committees, districts committees and local level committees. Gautam had suggested that if 33 per cent women representation could not be ensured in those committees, an equal number of seats for men and women should be left vacant.

Gautam also advised that party office bearers, secretariat, standing committee and politburo should include at least two women each. There is no woman office bearer. Gautam had suggested a 518-member central committee, 171-member politburo, 57-member standing committee and 19-member secretariat. However, the standing committee has 45 members and the secretariat has nine members. The party has yet to form its politburo.

A previous task force had recommended Shiva Kumar Acharya, who is the brother-in-law of Chief Minister Pokharel, as provincial committee member though he was not even a district committee member in Dang in the then  CPN-UML. The Nepal faction feared similar nepotism and favouritism in Banke, Rupandehi, Palpa, Rolpa, Pyuthan, Kapilvastu, Nawalparasi, Bardiya, Arghakhanchi, Gulmi and East Rukum by the Pokharel-led task force.

A task force member Yogesh Bhattarai told THT “We will strive for consensus on all issues after the Maghi festival.” According to him, the task force has convened five meetings after its formation.