KATHMANDU: The intra-party rift between CPN-UML Chairman K P Sharma Oli and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal escalated following the former’s ‘unilateral attempt’ to sack pro-Nepal minister Purushottam Paudel. Both the leaders are now openly criticising each other and preparing future moves. Today, Nepal organised a separate gathering of his loyalist Constituent Assembly members at Everest College in Thapathali and told them to make a list all the unilateral decisions taken by Oli to raise them at their respective committees of the party. Yesterday, Nepal had held discussions with central committee members loyal to him. During the meeting, senior party leaders including Vice-chairman Yubaraj Gyawali and lawmaker Prakash Jwala urged everyone to fight against the ‘autocratic regime’ of chairman Oli. UML Secretary Gokarna Bista said he used to feel proud to be an alternative central committee member during Nepal’s chairmanship, but now he felt ashamed to say that he was a secretary of the party. He urged all the lawmakers to make collective efforts to save the party. A lawmaker, who attended the gathering, said Oli never discussed in the party committees before taking important decisions. He said the list of his unilateral decisions was long, including the nomination of 26 CA members, appointment of chairpersons of the parliamentary committees, recalling ministers and securing political appointments for his loyalists. He said if Oli dared to remove Minister for Youth and Sports Paudel, he would have to pay a heavy price for it. “We have 81 lawmakers and they will not be obliged to support Oli in his endeavour to become the next prime minister if he keeps on imposing autocracy in the party,” he warned. Oli, on the other hand, while addressing a function organised by Madan Bhandari Foundation to mark the party’s former general secretary Madan Bhandari’s birth anniversary, today expressed dissatisfaction with the separate gathering of the party. Both Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal did not attend the function. Oli said Paudel had refused to abide by party’s instructions. He, however, said Paudel had accepted his mistakes. Oli added that he was ready to call meeting of any of the party’s committees if leaders wanted to discuss their grudges. Party secretariat member and central office Secretary Krishna Gopal Shrestha said it was unfortunate that some leaders were organising separate gatherings fearing the increasing popularity of the party’s chairman at a time when the country was preparing to draft the new constitution.