Oli, Nepal stick to their guns

Kathmandu, January 12

A nine-member Nepal Communist Party (NCP) task force has failed to prepare roadmap for unification of lower committees due to factional conflict.

The task force is represented by all three factions in the party led by co-chairs KP Sharma Oli, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal.

The task force was supposed to submit its report to the party secretariat on Thursday, but has not done so yet.

The Nepal-led faction advocates ‘one person, one post’ provision, which Oli’s group opposes because the two major leaders of the Oli faction — Province 5 Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel and Gandak Province Chief Minister Prithivi Subba Gurung — are also in-charge of the party in their respective provinces. Pokharel is also a member of the task force.

The Nepal-led faction has sought to reshuffle the provincial committees stating that the committees were formed in Nepal’s absence. However, General Secretary Bishnu Poudel, who is close to Oli, is opposed to reshuffling. “The decision has already been executed and there is no need to reshuffle the committees,” a source quoted Poudel as saying.

Nepal had registered a note of dissent on the party’s organisational structure and selection of provincial members.

According to party sources, task force members close to Oli and Nepal are sticking to their guns, while members close to Dahal — Ram Bahadur Thapa, Barshaman Pun and Lekharaj Bhatta — are trying to mediate.

In the task force, General Secretary Poudel, Province 5 Chief Minister Pokharel and Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transportation Raghubir Mahaseth represent the Oli faction, while former finance minister Surendra Pandey, lawmaker Yogesh Bhattrai and Beduram Bhusal represent the Nepal faction.

In the first meeting of the task force held on December 31 in Baluwatar, Oli and Dahal directed members to complete their task within 10 days. The task force was supposed to recommend office bearers of district committees, members of the party’s departments, sister organisations and politburo.

According to sources, the erstwhile CPN-Maoist faction demanded 50 per cent members in the politburo but the erstwhile CPN-UML faction did not agree.

The task force has agreed to incorporate the word ‘communism’ in the party statute, sources said. It also agreed to hold the party’s Standing Committee meeting every two months.

Bhatta told THT, “If anybody witnesses ups and downs in our task force’s work, it is natural. We are not allowed to speak on the progress of the task force’s work.”

“We have not completed our task yet. We are still discussing some issues,” another task force member Bhusal told THT.  As per their code of conduct, task force members cannot tell the press about its progress. “We will only make our report public when we complete it,” Bhusal said.

Coordinator of the task force Minister of Home Affairs Thapa had said the unification would be completed by the third week of January.

According to sources, the task force may not submit its report without the top leadership telling them to do so.