Three-way tussle in NCP task force

Kathmandu, December 31

A nine-member task force of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) formed to finalise the party unification is likely to witness a three-way tussle among its members.

The task force is represented by all three factions in the party led by co-chairpersons KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal. Leaders say task force members are likely to stick to the opinions of their respective factions put forth during the recently-held Standing Committee meeting.

The camp led by Nepal is for ‘one man, one post’ provision, which is opposed by the Oli-led group because two major leaders of the camp hold two posts each — Province 5 Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel and Gandak Province Chief Minister Prithivi Subba Gurung are also in-charge of the party in their respective provinces.

The Nepal-led faction has sought reshuffling of provincial committees, stating that the committees were formed in Nepal’s absence. However, Oli is opposed to reshuffling.

However, task force member Beduram Bhusal, who represents the Nepal camp, played down talk of factionalism. “We have been assigned to facilitate party unification and we are flexible,” he added.

Nepal had also registered his note of dissent in the party on the organisational structure and selection of provincial members.

“Provincial committees will not be reshuffled as they have already started functioning in a party circular,” Lekh Raj Bhatta, a task force member representing the Dahal camp, told THT.

Sources, however, said the Dahal faction could work as a mediator between Nepal and Oli factions as it did in the Standing Committee meeting.

According to a leader, Dahal does not want to be a leader of a faction, but the entire party.

In the task force, General Secretary Bishnu Poudel, Province 5 Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel and Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transportation Raghubir Mahaseth are from the Oli faction, Minister of Home  Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa, Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barshaman Pun and former Minister Lekharaj Bhatta are from the Dahal faction, while former finance minister Surendra Pandey, lawmaker Yogesh Bhattrai and leader Beduram Bhusal are from the Nepal faction.

Task force members, however, claimed they did not represent any faction as the body was formed by the Standing Committee.

In the first meeting of the task force held today in Baluwatar, Oli and Dahal directed members to complete their task within 10 days, said Bhatta.

According to Bhatta, the task force will recommend office bearers of district committees, party’s departments, sister organisations and politburo. Oli and Dahal told the task force that unification should be completed by mid-January.

The Standing Committee had formed the task force to address grievances of the Nepal faction. Oli did not want to form the task force, but Dahal proposed the body to iron out differences on party unification. Nepal had supported Dahal’s idea. Nepal also floated ideas for the terms of reference of the task force.

According to Standing Committee member Ghanshyam Bhusal, the task force can review the party statute in response to recommendations made by leaders during the meeting. “The task force will do the ground work to finalise party unification at the lower levels and it can also recommend review of the party statute, if necessary. The task force report will be tabled before the Standing Committee,” Bhusal said.

“The three factions are likely to remain until the general convention,” NCP leader Yub Raj Chaulagai told THT. The party general convention is expected to be held within two years.

Another NCP leader said if the tussle continues in the party, the general convention might not be held on the stipulated time. “Even if two factions come together, the third might resent it,” the leader said.

Bone of contention

  • The camp led by Nepal is for ‘one man, one post’ provision, which is opposed by the Oli-led group
  • The Nepal-led faction has sought reshuffling of provincial committees, while Oli is opposed to reshuffling
  • The Dahal faction could work as a mediator between the Nepal and Oli factions