The establishment faction of the CPN- UML held its standing committee meeting today and decided to seek an explanation from 22 party lawmakers who had voted in favour of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba during the floor test yesterday.

UML Spokesperson Pradeep Kumar Gyawali told mediapersons after the meeting that the party body decided to seek explanation from 22 lawmakers within 24 hours for going against the party directive. The establishment faction of the party had decided to vote against Deuba during the floor test.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that when a lawmaker sought to form the government under Article 76 (5) of the constitution, other lawmakers could vote according to their conscience, which might or might not be in consonance with their party's stance.

The establishment faction of the UML has, however, crticised the SC ruling making party whip ineffective under Article 76 (5) of the constitution as against the spirit of the multi-party system.

Gyawali said the central committee meeting adopted the 10-point unity proposal submitted by the taskforce and would move ahead as per its essence.

UML lawmaker Shanta Chaudhary said party Chair KP Sharma Oli told the meeting that since he had accepted the 10-point proposal prepared by the 10-member task force, it was Madhav Kumar Nepal who was against party unity as he had not accepted the proposal.

Chaudhary said members of the standing committee wanted the party to expel the 22 lawmakers immediately for violating party directive, but Oli decided to seek an explanation from them first, as the party statute required the leadership to do that before taking any disciplinary action against any party lawmaker.

Chaudhary said Oli agreed to revive party committees that existed before the UML's merger with the CPN-Maoist Centre.

Oli said doors were open for any party leader who was associated with the Nepal-Khanal faction in the past, but wanted to return to Oli's camp.

Lawmakers of the Madhav Kumar Nepal-Jhalanath Khanal faction, meanwhile, continued to boycott party meetings.

They said they would take part in the meetings of party bodies only after all party committees that existed before the CPN-UML's merger with the CPN-MC were restored.

UML lawmaker Birodh Khatiwada, who is close to Nepal, said lawmakers who had voted for Deuba during the trust vote had not received the clarification letter yet. He said Oli didn't have the power to seek explanation from party lawmakers as he was at the helm of the party illegally.

He said the Supreme Court had ruled in the House of Representatives dissolution case that the parties had no right to issue whips to their lawmakers for exercising their power under Article 76 (5) of the constitution.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 20 2021, of The Himalayan Times.