Nepal | August 12, 2020

PM’s fate in hands of NCP Standing Committee?

Leaders are planning to force him to quit by putting the issue to vote

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Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Standing Committee members are planning to decide the fate of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who is a co-chair of the party but has been avoiding Standing Committee meetings, by majority vote if he stays adamant on holding on to both the top posts.

The next Standing Committee meeting is scheduled for 11:00am tomorrow. The meeting has already been postponed eight times to let Oli and the other Co-chair of the party Pushpa Kamal Dahal iron out their differences, but the two leaders have remained adamant on their stances.

Standing Committee member Asta Laxmi Shakya, who is close to Madhav Kumar Nepal, said Dahal had assured her that the scheduled meeting of the Standing Committee would take place.

“I told Dahal that Oli had crossed all limits by choosing not to attend Standing Committee meeting and inciting his supporters to raise slogans on the streets in his favour.

Now Dahal is the only co-chair of the party in whom party leaders can repose their faith,” Shakya said. She added that Dahal had acted patiently while Oli was defying party rules. “I told Dahal that the party could take decisions either on the basis of consensus or majority. If there is no consensus in the Standing Committee, then decisions should be taken on the basis of majority,” she added.

Oli does not have majority in the party’s Secretariat, Standing Committee or Central Committee.

Since majority of Standing Committee members have asked him to resign, Oli may have to quit the PM’s post if the committee puts the issue to vote.

Dahal and Nepal have asked Oli to quit either the PM or party cochair’s post for failing to follow party directives and address governance issues, but Oli is adamant on holding on to both the posts. Dahal/Nepal faction has also blamed Oli for failing to effectively handle the threat of COVID-19.

A leader close to Dahal told THT that the dispute within the party was not for post and position, but for rules and principles. He said Dahal wanted the government to abide by the party’s decisions, but Oli had been defying party decisions.

“Oli wants to maintain the status quo following capitalist policies, while Dahal wants to achieve goals of socialism. He wants the party to decide on what should be its short-, medium- and long-term policies to achieve goals of socialism,” the leader said.

Deputy parliamentary party leader of the NCP Subas Chandra Nembang said Oli and Dahal were scheduled to hold dialogue tomorrow morning before the Standing Committee meeting.

The next Standing Committee’s agenda would depend on what transpires in the meeting between the two co-chairs, Nembang added.

He said the demand that Oli should resign from either of the two top posts was against the spirit of unity between the erstwhile CPN- UML and CPN-Maoist Centre. Unless there is an agreement between the two co-chairs, Oli should not be asked to resign as PM or party cochair, he argued. Nembang said the next General Convention of the party would elect the new chairperson, while the next PM would be chosen after the new general election.

Nembang also said the unity agreement stated that the next General Convention would be a GC of unity and consensus which would entail election of leaders on the basis of unity and consensus. If the next GC cannot elect the new executive committee on the basis of unity and consensus, then that will go against the spirit of unity between the UML and CPN-MC, he added. He said the party would split if the next GC elected the executive committee on the basis of majority.

NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the party leaders would try not to postpone the Standing Committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow.

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

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