PM Oli’s ‘dictatorial’ style ‘blot on party’

Kathmandu, December 17

Majority of standing committee members of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) blasted the party leadership for its ‘dictatorial and arbitrary’ ways that were sullying the party and the government’s image.

Nine out of 10 standing committee members who spoke today — Bamdev Gautam, Agni Sapkota, Yubaraj Gyawali, Asta Laxmi Shakya, Ghanashyam Bhusal, Mukunda Neupane, Haribol Gajurel, Ganesh Saha and Beduram Bhusal — criticised the party leadership for bypassing other decision-making bodies while taking crucial decisions regarding the party and the government.

Defending his political document presented on Saturday which Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli rebuffed at a public event the following day, Gautam accused Oli of defaming him by underestimating the document. “The party leadership is sidelining other leaders, exhibiting dictatorial tendencies,” a leader present in today’s meeting quoted Gautam as saying.

Rebutting Oli’s statement that the country would have two prime ministers had the constitution provisioned the same, Gautam said Oli, who had two-thirds majority in the Parliament, could amend the constitution to put in place the provision.

Gautam said a person holding a responsible position should also make responsible remarks.

Another Oli critic, Ghanashyam Bhusal, said decisions taken by the party secretariat violating rules and regulations were not acceptable to party leaders and cadres.

“The leadership is running the party and the government arbitrarily, undermining the party’s ideology,” a participant quoted Ghanashyam Bhusal as telling the meeting.

Bhusal termed the joint document presented by Oli and NCP Co-chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘directionless’ and Gautam’s document ‘full of negativity’. Agni Sapkota said the recent Asia Pacific Summit, co-hosted by the government with a controversial NGO, had compromised the country’s dignity.

Most leaders pointed out that eight lakh cadres had been rendered jobless since the party unification. “The party sets one set of criteria one day and violates it the following day,” Sapkota told the meeting.

Beduram Bhusal accused secretariat members of violating the statute. “Where is the party’s role in the government’s plans and policies? Is the government following the party’s directions?” he wondered. Ganesh Saha said the government’s popularity was nose-diving.

Surprisingly, leaders from the erstwhile CPN-UML were more critical of Oli, who was the chairperson of that party, than those from CPN-MC, according to participants.

Minister of Forest and Environment Shakti Bahadur Basnet tried to defend the government, but his arguments were weak. Haribol Gajurel also appeared on Oli’s side, while Agni Sapkota criticised the government, but sympathised with co-chairpersons Oli and Dahal.

The disgruntled leaders also criticised the government for its poor performance when it came to capital expenditure, revenue collection, trade deficit and employment generation.