Kathmandu, May 2
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli appears to have averted the political crisis that threatened to dislodge him from power.
A meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Secretariat decided to move unitedly after Prime Minister Oli engaged in self-criticism for the mistakes he made with respect to party and government affairs. On their part, other leaders of the Secretariat, including party Co-chair Dahal also engaged in self-criticism, according to Secretariat member and party Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who said the meeting also decided to consolidate party unity and issue directive to the party’s rank and file not to indulge in any activity that could lead to division within the party. The Secretariat also decided that the government would follow the party’s directives and strive to achieve the goals of socialism.
The party decided to make NCP Vice-chair Bamdev Gautam a candidate for the House of Representatives at an appropriate time. When asked if Gautam would be the new PM as proposed by PM Oli in the last Secretariat meeting, Shrestha said the implied meaning of the party Secretariat’s decision to make Gautam a candidate for HoR member was the same.
Shrestha said if Gautam won HoR by-election, then he would qualify for the post of PM. Shrestha said the Secretariat also decided to hold the next Standing Committee meeting on May 7. On May 6, the party will hold a meeting of the party secretariat to prepare the agenda for the Standing Committee meeting.
Twenty members of the Standing Committee close to party Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal had registered a petition demanding immediate meeting of the Standing Committee.
Rift between Oli and Dahal-Nepal factions had widened after the PM brought two ordinances allowing dissident leaders to split a party with the support of either 40 per cent members of the central committee or parliamentary party and to allow the Constitutional Council to take decisions on the basis of majority. The Dahal-Nepal faction had accused the PM of taking unilateral decisions without following the party’s directives. Oli has fallen into minority recently in the party’s Secretariat, Standing Committee and Central Committee.
The Oli faction had on Wednesday started collecting signatures of lawmakers to prove its majority in the parliamentary party.
Shrestha said the party also decided to bring the new fiscal budget to achieve the goals of economic transformation and to deal with the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier, PM Oli had met President Bidhya Devi Bhandari at around 4:00pm today before the Secretariat meeting. The president’s personal aide Bhesh Raj Adhikari told THT that the PM discussed contemporary political issues with the president apart from informing her about the government’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Today’s secretariat meeting witnessed a significant change in the seating arrangement with the chair of NCP Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal placed close to PM Oli, the other co-chair, in the same row. Dahal, whose chair used to be placed on the row of other leaders in the previous meetings, was not happy with the arrangement.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 3, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.