Nepal | July 15, 2020

PM Oli shows up to leave NCP SC meet

Himalayan News Service
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Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who had skipped the Standing Committee meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) yesterday, showed up at the meeting venue today but only for a few minutes.

A member of the Standing Committee said Oli left the meeting hall saying he was not well and needed rest.

“I can understand the PM is not in the pink of health but that’s not the only reason he is avoiding the Standing Committee meeting. He does not want to hear criticism,” said Standing Committee member Lilamani Pokharel.

One major issue the PM will face at the meeting is the rival faction’s demand that he quit either the post of prime minister or the party’s co-chair.

On Thursday, both cochairs Oli and Dahal took potshots at each other. Oli said party leaders were acting like opposition leaders while Dahal said he regretted letting go his chance to become the prime minister for two-and-a-half years. Dahal also said party leaders should be ready to make sacrifices.

Standing Committee member Yubaraj Gyawali told THT the SC meeting would establish the principle of one person, one post rule in the party.

Our party statute has clearly stated that one leader should hold only one major post, but that rule has not been followed. This meeting will make sure that one leader holds only one post, Gyawali added. He said the main reason behind the contradictions in the party was violation of the statute’s provision that stipulates that one leader should hold only one post.

Another Standing Committee leader told THT on condition of anonymity that although the rival faction led by party Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal had been trying for long to unseat the PM, a deal had not been sealed among Dahal, Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal and Bamdev Gautam regarding who should hold what post in case Oli was removed, or Oli might not be removed from the post of PM, but restrictions could be imposed on him. “Either the rival faction with majority in the party will force the PM to follow all the party’s decisions or the faction may form a mechanism to check the government,” the source added.

Standing Committee member Lilamani Pokharel said the party had not discussed the one leader, one post rule yet, but the issue would certainly come up when leaders discuss the government’s performance and the party’s functions.

“On the one hand, we have to ensure party unity, while on the other, we also have to make sure that one person, one post rule applies and the government follows the party’s rules,” he said. “This is not a coalition government and hence the government cannot act unilaterally,”

Pokharel added. He said party leaders holding two posts could lose one post as both Oli and Dahal had spoken of the need to make sacrifices.

Pokharel also said that although some leaders spoke of introducing visa system between Nepal and India and fencing of the open border, these measures could not be implemented at present and the maximum all the leaders could agree to would be to regulate the border.

“We can designate border points between Nepal and India, improve the lives of border residents and improve road and other physical infrastructure in the border region,” Pokharel said.

He said most of the Standing Committee members also agreed on increasing the number of border outposts.

According to Pokharel, the SC members also said Nepal should hold talks with India both at government and peoples’ level to resolve the border row. The next meeting of the party body has been scheduled for Tuesday. PM Oli is in minority in all party bodies — the Secretariat, Standing Committee and Central Committee.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 28, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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