• Decide to cosy up to PM
  • Oli, three other members stay away

Leaders present in Friday’s meeting agreed to collectively meet the PM on Saturday and request him to call the Secretariat meeting


Co-chair of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Pushpa Kamal Dahal called an informal meeting of the nine-member party Secretariat today. The meeting was attended by five members of the Secretariat, while Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and three other members — Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokhrel, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa and Finance Minister Bishnu Prasad Paudel — stayed away from the meeting.

Dahal’s move comes at a time when rift between the two co-chairs has widened, especially after a no-trust motion was filed against Karnali Chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi and Oli’s unilateral decision to reshuffle the federal Cabinet and nominate ambassadors.

Oli, however, has refused to call party bodies’ meetings to discuss political issues.

Dahal has accused Oli of taking unilateral decisions against the spirit of the party’s Standing Committee meeting.

The NCP Standing Committee had recently decided that the PM would have a free hand in dealing with day-today affairs of governance, but he would have to abide by the party’s decisions and rules on policy issues and matters related to appointment to constitutional bodies and nominations of ambassadors.

The Dahal faction had also flayed Oli for meeting India’s Research and Analysis Wing Chief Samant Kumar Goel recently.

NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said although Dahal, who was the executive chairperson of the party, had the power to call party bodies’ meetings, leaders present in today’s meeting agreed to collectively meet the PM tomorrow and request him to call the Secretariat meeting for the sake of party unity.

Shrestha said Oli had threatened to split the party if Dahal called an official meeting of the Secretariat. “That’s why Dahal called an informal meeting of the Secretariat today.”

Asked what they would do if the PM did not agree to call the Secretariat meeting, Shrestha said they would cross the bridge when they get to it. Oli had said recently that if the Dahal faction took decisions on the basis of majority, he would not hesitate to split the party.

Deputy Chief of NCP Publicity Department Surya Thapa, who is also the PM’s Press Adviser, told THT that the gathering called by Dahal was merely his faction’s gathering and not an NCP Secretariat meeting. He said Dahal violated party rules and statute by calling the Secretariat meeting and such moves could take the party to the brink of split. “Dahal has a habit of calling his faction’s meeting — sometimes at his residence in Khumaltar and at other times in Paris Danda. Today’s meeting was a similar gathering.” He said the PM would not attend such meetings.

Deputy parliamentary party leader of the NCP Subas Chandra Nembang, who is close to Oli, told THT that Dahal had informed Oli yesterday that he would hold an informal meeting of the Secretariat today.

“This is not a formal meeting of the Secretariat, but an informal gathering,” he said. He added that discussing issues among party leaders was natural. “Such discussion helps party leaders narrow down their differences,” he added.

A version of this article appears in print on November 07, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.

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