Nepal | September 27, 2020

War of words hots up in ruling Nepal Communist Party

RAM KUMAR KAMAT
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KATHMANDU, AUGUST 7

Factions led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Co-chair of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal have escalated their war of words, with Oli’s Political Adviser Bishnu Rimal warning party Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha against ‘inciting leaders to promote factionalism’.

Writing on Twitter, Rimal advised Shrestha to uphold the dignity of the post of party spokesperson that he held and warned all concerned against indulging in activities that affected party unity.

Rimal’s remarks come days after Shrestha and three other leaders — Dahal, Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal — spoke to a group of journalists criticising Oli for violating party rules.

Former minister of communications and information technology Gokul Prasad Baskota, who is also a close confidant of Oli, also took to Twitter to say the new developments in the party reminded him of 1998. It was in 1998 that the erstwhile CPN-UML split over Mahakali Treaty, with Bamdev Gautam and CP Mainali leading the splinter group. Baskota said coronavirus cure might be found, but the solution to NCP feud would perhaps never be found.

When asked to comment on Rimal’s tweet, NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said, “I cannot comment on every individual’s remarks made against me.” He said there was no agreement between the two co-chairpersons yet about resuming the Standing Committee meeting.

Oli, who has been asked to step down as prime minister or party co-chair by majority members of the Standing Committee, including Dahal and Nepal, had unilaterally postponed the Standing Committee meeting on July 28. The party has not been able to reconvene it.

The PM, who has fallen into minority in the Standing Committee and the Central Committee, has refused to quit any post and has been avoiding the Standing Committee meeting.

Deputy parliamentary party leader of the NCP Subas Chandra Nembang, who is close to Oli, said he was confident that the two co-chairs — Oli and Dahal — would be able to end the current deadlock in the party. Nembang, who had met Dahal yesterday, said he held discussion with Dahal on all contemporary issues. Dahal told him to convey to Oli not to make appointments to government bodies when the party’s Standing Committee was discussing important political issues. At this, Nembang asked him if he wanted the government not to make appointments to government bodies, why did he and other leaders of his faction — Nepal, Khanal and Narayan Kaji Shrestha — criticised Oli in front of journalists.

Nembang said both co-chairs were of the view that they should do groundwork before holding the next Standing Committee meeting.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 8, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.

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