Nepal’s ruling communist party meeting fails to resolve Oli-Prachanda feud

PTI, Jul 21, 2020, 4:53 PM IST

Kathmandu: The much-awaited meeting of Nepal’s ruling communist party on Tuesday failed to sort out the differences between Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and the rival faction led by party executive chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” as political issues did not figure during the brief deliberations held in the absence of the premier.

The meeting of the Standing Committee of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) was held at the Prime Minister’s official residence at Baluwatar in the national capital but it did not discuss political issues, said Ganesh Shah, member of the Standing Committee and a senior party leader.

Prime Minister Oli did not attend the meeting of the 45-member Standing Committee, he said, adding that the next meeting of the top body of the NCP will be held a week later. The meeting took place after it was postponed seven times to allow Oli and Prachanda more time to sort out their differences.

However, on Tuesday also the meeting was deferred by two hours as Prime Minister Oli held a one-on-one meeting with the party’s executive chairman “Prachanda” to settle key issues over power-sharing. The meeting mainly discussed the natural disasters that have hit the country, he said.

The next meeting of the Standing Committee was decided to be held on July 28 at 11 am at Baluwatar to review the party’s activities, government’s performance, finalising division of work among party’s cadres and leaders, and proposed general convention among other issues, he said.

However, “informal meetings may take place among the senior leaders of the party before the Standing Committee meeting with the view to resolving the internal feud in the party,” Shah said.

The members at the meeting expressed sadness over the loss of life and property due to the floods and landslides in different parts of the country as a result of continuous rains and urged the government to carry out relief works in a speedy manner.

“There was only one agenda for today to direct the party members to respond to natural disasters,” said Narayan Kaji Shrestha, party’s spokesperson.

“The meeting also expressed condolences to the families of those who lost their lives to floods and landslides and wished speedy recovery of the injured,” Shrestha said.

At the meeting, a proposal to direct the party members to involve in rescue and relief was tabled, as 233 people have been killed, 98 have disappeared and 99 have been due to the floods and landslides, the Kathmandu Post newspaper quoted Shrestha as saying.

Top NCP leaders, including Prachanda, have been demanding Oli’s resignation, saying his recent anti-India remarks were “neither politically correct nor diplomatically appropriate.” They are also against Oli’s autocratic style of functioning.

The differences grew further after Oli said that some of the ruling party leaders are aligning with the southern neighbour to remove him from power after his government issued a new political map incorporating three Indian territories of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura.

The Prachanda faction rejected Oli’s allegations, saying it is them who have asked for resignation, not India.

Prachanda has said that he will not allow the party to split and any attempt from anywhere to weaken its unity would hurt the fight against the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters.

Prachanda on Monday said efforts were going on to resolve the intra-party differences and ruled out an early general convention of the party as proposed by embattled Prime Minister Oli.

“Going for the general convention is not a bad idea but without proper preparations, it is not possible as various issues including the party ideology also need to be sorted out,” Matrika Yadav, a Standing Committee member, quoted Prachanda as saying at the meeting.

Prachanda’s remarks came amid reports that he had reached an understanding with Oli on holding the general convention by November/December and that the prime minister would back him as the party chair.

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