No Oli-Dahal pact, says Pokhrel

Kathmandu, October 25

Amid tension between Nepal Communist Party Co-chairs KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal over work division, NCP Secretariat member Ishwor Pokhrel today said there was no agreement between Oli and Dahal on taking turns as prime minister.

Addressing an event in Morang, Pokhrel said that Dahal and Oli came from different backgrounds and some differences between them could be expected, but there was no major dispute between the two.

“The party is run on the basis of consensus and this will continue,” he said, adding, “As for the reported Oli-Dahal agreement, no such institutional pact had been reached.”

Pokhrel’s remark follows Oli’s recent statement that the public had endorsed his leadership, and no one else’s when the party registered a thumping victory in the last general elections. Oli was then responding to Dahal’s expression of discontentment at his reluctance to share power.

At the time when CPN-UML and CPN-MC merged to form the NCP, Oli and Dahal had reached a gentlemen’s agreement whereby they would take turns as prime minister for equal tenures, and one would head the party and the other the government.

Dahal has often spoken about the agreement publicly and NCP leaders say the two have a written agreement in place.

An NCP leader close to Dahal dismissed Pokhrel’s claims, stating that there were still six months left for implementation of the agreement whereby Oli and Dahal would take turns as prime minister. The leader said it did not matter what Pokhrel said because Oli and Dahal had a written agreement in place.

“After Oli did not honour a gentlemen’s agreement during his first tenure as prime minister, the government fell. The former CPN-MC insisted there was a written agreement on power sharing with the UML when the two erstwhile parties forged electoral alliance,” the leader said.

The leader added that the present tension between Dahal and Oli was not because of that agreement as there were still six months left for its implementation. “The tension is because Dahal wants to lead the party as Oli has been leading the government, but Oli does not want this to happen,” said the leader.

The leader also claimed that unification between CPN-UML and CPN-MC had been forged on equal terms and although the UML was the larger party with more seats in the Parliament, the CPN-MC was the larger party on the basis of agenda. “So if the two co-chairs share equal hierarchy, power sharing should also be ensured,” the leader said.