A meeting of the Nepal Communist Party Secretariat on Wednesday.
KATHMANDU: Perhaps, Prime Minister KP Oli never had presumed he would be facing arrows of criticism in Wednesday’s Secretariat meeting.
If sources are to be believed, he firmly believed that Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Vice Chairman Bam Dev Gautam would not betray him this time.
Gautam, meanwhile, made a U-turn just to disappoint PM Oli — also a Chairman of the party. This infuriated PM Oli, which forced him to walk out of the Secretariat meeting abruptly.
What did Gautam say? “He vehemently raised the issue of ‘one-person-one-post’ which infuriated PM Oli,” a Standing Committee member told Khabarhub insisting anonymity. Oli has been holding both the posts of Prime Minister as well as the party Chairman.
In fact, Chairman Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal — leaders of the disgruntled faction — too were adamant to their stance of raising this issue during the Standing Committee meeting, something which is a tribulation to PM Oli.
The meeting witnessed heated exchange of words. As soon as the meeting got underway, senior leader Nepal came down heavily on PM Oli for his ‘monopolistic’ attitude and disregarding other party leaders.
An infuriated PM Oli, meanwhile, retaliated saying Nepal’s criticism was an evidence of prejudice, which he will not tolerate. Oli went on to add that the relevance of convening the party’s Standing Committee meeting was over as he had already withdrawn the controversial ordinances.
Meanwhile, unable to tolerate PM Oli’s statement, Chairman Dahal, too, raised concern alleging Oli of ‘treading on his own path’ rather than walking together, which was against Oli’s promises that he made during Saturday’s Secretariat meeting.
PM Oli is also said to have been infuriated after he had some ‘heated arguments’ with NCP Chairman ‘Prachanda’ during the meeting.
He (PM Oli), therefore, preferred to walk out of the meeting, a source said.
“PM Oli was confident that his assurance to bring Gautam onboard the House of Representatives to pave the latter’s way to become the next Prime Minister had worked to bring Gautam into his confidence,” the leader said, which, however, did not happen.
Gautam is also said to have told PM Oli to refrain from bringing up new issues until and unless he lived up to his promises that he made earlier.
PM Oli had during Saturday’s meeting of the Secretariat had ‘realized’ his past mistakes, and promised to move ahead on the basis of consensus.
Moreover, two Chairmen Oli and Dahal were at loggerheads while finalizing the agenda for the Standing Committee meeting, further souring the relation between the two strongmen.
Leader Gautam, meanwhile, had on Wednesday afternoon, reached Prachanda’s residence at Khumaltar and ‘convinced’ the latter that he was not in Oli’s camp as ‘rumored’.
During the talks, as sources claimed, Gautam had ‘complained’ PM Oli’s haughty attitude. Meanwhile, party secretariat member and Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, who was earlier ’tilted toward PM Oli’, too, have made a strategic move by changing his camp signalling at making Dahal-Nepal’s camp more stronger.
With this, the intra-party row in the ruling NCP has once again touched a new height after the Standing Committee meeting scheduled for Thursday was postponed.
Soon after, KP Oli and ‘Prachanda’ held a one-to-one meeting at the Prime Minister’s official residence and decided to postpone tomorrow’s meeting of the Standing Committee. Prachanda, who was in favor of convening the Standing Committee meeting at the earliest, could not bear Oli’s haughty stance, which ultimately led to the postponement of Thursday’s meeting.
However, the meeting of the Standing Committee looks uncertain even though PM Oli had insisted on postponing the meeting by using a statement.
Party insiders, meanwhile, say PM Oli’s action was a result of his failure to tolerate criticism coming from other Secretariat members about what they said ‘controversial decisions’ of the government.
Meanwhile, in a bid to patch up the differences, Standing Committee member and Chief Minister of State-5, Shankar Pokhrel, who is considered PM Oli’s confidante, reached PM’s official residence Baluwatar and met with Oli and Dahal. However, Pokhrel’s efforts, too, failed, according to a leader.
PM Oli has been widely criticized for ‘failing to perform dexterously’ both as the Prime Minister and the Party Chairman.
However, party Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha defended Oli’s action saying: “The Prime Minister had some works to be accomplished.”
Meanwhile, a Standing Committee leader, who insisted anonymity, told Khabarhub that PM Oli’s move has infuriated Dahal and party senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal.
“If PM Oli’s move was to make the Secretariat meeting a flop, then he would face unprecedented action,” the leader said, adding, “Dahal-Nepal faction had concluded that they would be compelled to disrupt the budget session of the parliament that begins later this week.”
The disgruntled faction is still adamant to its stance that PM Oli must quit one of is posts. “He (PM Oli) cannot hold both the posts at any cost,” he said. This was one of the agendas discussed in the meeting of 19 NCP leaders held in Baneswor on Tuesday.
“It is high time that the party looked for Oli’s alternative,” the Standing Committee member told Khabarhub.
Meanwhile, Secretariat sources said PM Oli turned during the Secretariat meeting was hesitant on getting his
Saturday’s commitment documented in the political report to be presented on behalf of the Chairmen.
Today’s meeting was convened to discuss the proposals and agenda to be presented in the Standing Committee meeting.
This, as observers say, has further complicated the intra-party dispute as the scheduled Standing Committee meeting has become uncertain.
After weeks of escalated intra-party wrangling, the two factions had decided to hold the meeting of the Standing Committee, something which the disgruntled faction had been demanding for long.
PM Oli was criticized from within the party for centralizing the power with himself.
Of late, the dissatisfied section of the ruling party even engineered the ousting of PM Oli after the latter brought two ordinances two weeks ago, something which has been criticized as Oli’s plan at further consolidating his grip in both the party and the government.
The ordinances, which were immediately endorsed by the President, however, were withdrawn following criticism from all quarters, including the ruling party.
Since then, PM Oli had been trying to woo ruling party leaders to secure his majority both in the party Secretariat and the Parliamentary Party.
It has been said that among the 174 lawmakers representing the ruling NCP, PM Oli has around 78 on his side, which is 10 lawmakers short of a majority.
Both the sides – PM Oli and Dahal-Nepal – had earlier last week initiated a signature campaign to prove their strength in the party.