KATHMANDU, NOVEMBER 7
Co-chairperson of the ruling Nepal Communist Party Pushpa Kamal Dahal and four other members of the party Secretariat Jhalanath Khanal, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Bamdev Gautam and Narayan Kaji Shrestha today wrote to the other Co-chair of the party and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli seeking consent for a secretariat meeting to discuss the COVID-19 crisis and implementation of the party’s Standing Committee decisions.
The five members of the NCP Secretariat took the unusual step of making a written demand for the party Secretariat meeting after Oli refused to call any meeting of the party’s bodies.
The PM has fallen into minority in all key bodies of the party — Secretariat, Standing Committee and Central Committee. The PM warned Dahal not to officially call the Secretariat meeting without his consent or else he would take it as an attempt to break the party.
NCP Standing Committee had recently allowed the PM a free hand in the government’s day-to-day affairs but he would have to consult the party and abide by its decisions on policy issues including appointment in constitutional bodies and nominations of ambassadors.
The Dahal-led faction has accused Oli of acting unilaterally ignoring the party body’s decisions.
NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told mediapersons they had submitted the letter to the PM seeking consent for calling the party Secretariat meeting to discuss the crisis in the party, non-compliance with the party’s decisions and ways to protect party unity. Shrestha said Dahal had been requesting Oli to call the meeting of the party’s bodies, but as Oli had not heeded his call, the majority members of the Secretariat submitted the letter to the PM urging him to call the party Secretariat meeting.
“The PM did not answer our request. We hope he will call the Secretariat meeting tomorrow or the day after to discuss these issues,” Shrestha said. He said all leaders and cadres should abide by the party’s decisions and there should be uniformity between party decisions and government actions.
A standing Committee member close to Dahal said if Oli did not call the party Secretariat meeting, Dahal and the other four members of the Secretariat who had gone to meet the PM today, would officially call the meeting to discuss current issues.
“These leaders should not drag their feet in censuring Oli who often violates party decisions. The party and the country cannot be held hostage by Oli,” he added.
Today’s meeting among the five NCP Secretariat members witnessed angry exchange between the two sides.
Shrestha told the PM the word ‘comrade’ was not there in the PM’s dictionary.
“In a communist party, leaders are free to criticise their leader when they think their leader is making mistakes.
When things are not right, I will say it,” he told the PM.
Bamdev Gautam told the PM that he was not in his camp. Recently, Gautam had played a crucial role in helping Oli avert the challenge posed by the rival faction that had asked him to quit either the post of PM or party co-chair.
Amid the widening rift between Dahal and Oli, Gautam had floated a six-point proposal saying the PM should not be removed from any of the two posts — PM or party co-chair.
After Gautam’s move, Dahal and Nepal, who had mounted pressure on the PM to quit either of the posts had backed off.
A Standing Committee member close to Oli said the PM would call the Secretariat meeting when he deemed it necessary. “The last meeting of the Standing Committee had mandated party Co-chair Dahal and General Secretary Bishnu Prasad Paudel to do certain things with regard to the first General Convention of the unified party. Had they done their part, they could have asked for the Secretariat meeting. But after doing nothing, they are now asking the PM to call the secretariat meeting,” the Standing Committee member said.
Feature image: File
A version of this article appears in print on November 08, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.