Rival NCP factions flay govt for failing to curb graft

Kathmandu, December 19

Rival factions of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) continued to oppose the party’s establishment faction with some leaders accusing the government of failing to control corruption.

According to a Standing Committee member, one leader said in today’s meeting of the Standing Committee that government money was embezzled in the purchase of two wide body aircraft and it should be probed.

The ongoing meeting continues to witness fierce rivalry between   Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s loyalists and the Madhav Kumar Nepal-led faction with the former defending the PM and the latter mounting a political   attack on the PM.

Senior leader Bamdev Gautam had presented his alternative document opposing the joint document presented by party Co-chairpersons KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal in which they had claimed that the government was moving in the right direction. Former Maoist leaders who are in the government defended the government while former Maoist leader Lekha Raj Bhatta, who is not in the government, assailed it for appointing Digambar Jha in Nepal Telecom Authority, accusing him of being corrupt.

Nepal loyalists Bhim Prasad Acharya, Raghujee Panta and Surendra Pandey criticised the government for its ‘poor performance and arbitrary working style. Pun and Mahaseth are ministers in the Cabinet while Kandel is the vice-chair of National Planning commission. Dev Gurung is the chief whip of the NCP (NCP) in the House of Representatives.

A Standing Committee member told THT there was growing demand for incorporation of other leaders’ feedback, including the points raised by Bamdev Gautam in the joint political document presented by Oli and Dahal.

Gautam has demanded that   ‘one person, one post’ formula be applied in the party.

Surendra Pandey said Asia Pacific Summit held recently in Kathmandu had marred religious harmony in the country for which Oli and Nepal, who allowed the summit to be held, should apologise.

Raghuji Panta said the PM should be ready to reshuffle his Cabinet if the performance of some ministers was not satisfactory. He further said the joint document’s claim that Nepal’s international relations had been strengthened was wrong. Panta also said one leader should hold only one post.

Gandaki Province Chief Minister Prithivi Subba Gurung and Province 5 Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel are holding as party In-charge of the respective provinces.

Bhim Acharya told the meeting that the party did not follow its statute while forming provincial committees and hence the party should revise the committees.

One leader told the meeting that Oli’s recent rebuke of intellectuals had alienated the country’s middle class who had supported the party in the past. Some leaders also said that the private secretariats of PM Oli and other ministers were not competent and should be reshuffled.

One leader even said that corruption had taken place in the purchase of the two wide body aircraft and also in the purchase of sugar and that should be probed. “The ministers concerned should also clarify their positions,” a standing Committee member quoted one speaker as saying.

In today’s meeting, erstwhile CPN-MC leaders Dev Gurung and Barshman Pun and Oli loyalists   Raghubir Mahaseth and Pushpa Kandel defended the government.

Surendra Pandey, a member of the NCP Standing Committee said that the one person one post principle must apply at any cost. He said Province 5 Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel’s threat that he would quit the post of CM for a party post in case the one person, one post rule applied was psychological blackmail.

Pokharel had said in yesterday’s meeting that if he had to become the chief minister, then it should not cost him his role in the party and if the one person, one post principle was applied, then he would quit the CM’s post and hold the party’s post.