KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 10 The rift between the two co-chairs of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) widened today, with the faction led by Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal upping the ante against Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli by calling the Secretariat meeting which the PM has been trying to avoid. Oli is yet to give his nod to the meeting. Dahal, who is also the executive chairman of the NCP, today called the Secretariat meeting of the party for Thursday. He asked Oli to give his assent to the meeting and attend it. NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told mediapersons after an informal meeting of the party Secretariat this evening that five members of the Secretariat decided to call the meeting for Thursday, keeping in view the PM’s business engagement outside Kathmandu tomorrow. Shrestha said the PM had not given his nod to call the Secretariat meeting yet. “I hope that the PM will agree to our proposal to call the Secretariat meeting on Thursday and also attend it,” he said. Asked what the majority members of the Secretariat would do if the PM continued to ignore their request, Shrestha said they were maintaining restraint as they were committed to party unity, but that should not be construed as their weakness. “We are committed to protecting party unity. We also urge the party’s rank and file to use their wisdom and help convene the Secretariat meeting on the basis of consensus. We want to ensure that the party’s decisions are enforced,” he said. Shrestha said the next Secretariat meeting would dwell on the COVID crisis, non-compliance of Standing Committee decisions, intra-party rift in Karnali chapter of the party and the PM’s recent meeting with India’s Research and Analysis Wing Chief Samant Kumar Goel. Asked if the NCP would split due to the current intra-party feud, Shrestha said since the two communist parties had unified after a long struggle with worthwhile objectives, split in the party would not be in the interest of the people and the country. He said splitting of the party would only benefit forces that were trying to divide the party. Five members of NCP Secretariat — Dahal, Shrestha, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal and Bamdev Gautam — had met Oli on Saturday and asked him in writing to call the Secretariat meeting in two days, but the PM did not call the meeting, nor did he give his consent to majority members’ proposal to call the meeting of the nine-member body. The five Secretariat members have accused Oli of acting unilaterally, defying Standing Committee decisions, inciting party lawmakers in Karnali Province to register a no-trust motion against Chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi and making appointments in constitutional bodies without consulting party bodies.