Is ruling NCP facing a “grave existential crisis?”

Ishwar Dev Khanal

November 1, 2020

5 MIN READ

Is ruling NCP facing a “grave existential crisis?”
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KATHMANDU: If the statement issued by Bishnu Paudel, General Secretary of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), is to be cogitated, the party faces a “serious existential crisis”.

Paudel’s statement indicates that the party is seriously in a crisis as he has been a go-between figure in the past when NCP Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” and Prime Minister KP Oli were at loggerheads on power-sharing and other internal issues.

The crisis escalated on Sunday evening as both the factions led by Chairman Dahal and the other one led by PM Oli held separate meetings to discuss their future strategy.

Party leaders fear that the escalating differences have pushed the NCP on the verge of a split.

Earlier on Sunday, Prachanda while briefing his confidants at his Khumaltar residence had alleged Prime Minister Oli of proposing him to part ways.

Party Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha quoted Prachanda as saying that PM Oli proposed Prachanda to better part their ways rather than engaging in recurring disputes.

Paudel’s statement was evident to note that the ruling NCP’s unification has reached a critical juncture as he appealed to party leaders, cadres and supporters to play their part to keep the party unity intact on the basis of consensus.

Meanwhile, the Dahal faction has alleged PM Oli of making unilateral decisions that are against the spirit of the agreements reached between Prachanda and Oli and the party unification.

The Oli-faction, meanwhile, has alleged the Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal-led faction of “conspiring” to oust him from the post of prime minister by registering a no-confidence motion against him.

“We have learned that the faction is planning to register a no-confidence motion against the government by taking the Nepali Congress party into confidence,” said a leader close to Prime Minister.

Party insiders say Prachanda had proposed PM Oli to hold the Secretariat meeting “anytime soon” during a nearly two-hour-long meeting held between the two after a hiatus of 11 days at the PM’s official residence in Baluwatar on Saturday.

“The meeting could not yield any concrete outcome due to the leaders’ respective stance,” a leader close to Baluwatar told Khabarhub.

The “crucial” meeting was held between the two even as Prachanda repeatedly turned down PM Oli’s proposal to hold talks to thrash out the existing differences despite PM Oli sending his confidants, including Paudel and Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali to “convince” Prachanda for talks.

The rift between the two had deepened after PM Oli reshuffled the cabinet last month without giving a hint to party Executive Chairman Prachanda and other senior leaders. Moreover, the disgruntled faction was also miffed at PM Oli’s decision in the appointment of the ambassadors.

Likewise, PM Oli and Prachanda were at odds after some NCP lawmakers of Karnali Province decided to move a no-confidence motion against Chief Minister Mahendra Shahi last month something which the Dahal faction has alleged PM Oli for inciting the episode.

Meanwhile, a leader close to Dahal said Prachanda expressed his willingness to settle all disputed issues through a Secretariat meeting rather than holding one-on-one talks between the two top leaders.

It may also be noted that a section of the ruling party has accused Prime Minister Oli of holding a meeting with Samant Goel, the chief of the Indian intelligence agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) last month without consulting the party.

Prime Minister Oli and Chairman Dahal had on May 17, 2018, signed a five-point deal while agreeing on the party unification between the erstwhile CPN-UML and the then CPN-Maoist (Center).

The two leaders had then agreed to lead the government for an equal period. However, later Dahal and Oli had in November last year agreed to work on the basis of division of responsibility, which means that while Dahal would work as an Executive Chairman of the party, PM Oli would lead the government.

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