Is NCP heading closer to a split?

KATHMANDU: The feud within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) took a serious turn on Thursday giving a clear hint that the party is heading closer to a split with both the factions led by Prime Minister KP Oli and Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal showing no signs of flexibility.

If Thursday’s hectic developments are to be meticulously followed, the party is on the verge of a split.

Consider what NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said citing the abrupt prorogation of the budget session of the Federal Parliament: “The party is now in peril. We are endeavoring to avert any possible split.”

Speculations were that Prime Minister KP Oli may soon bring an ordinance to pave way for the split of political parties.

Coming out of the Standing Committee meeting at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Baluwatar, Shrestha said the party unity is in threat.

Efforts are in place to bring the two Chairmen – KP Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”, and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal – together to thrash out the differences between them. But is it possible?

“Not so optimistic,” a leader close to Dahal said insisting anonymity. “Chairman Comrade has been repeatedly fouled up and let down. He feels offended,” he said justifying his previous claim.

Observers, meanwhile, say that the abrupt prorogation of the parliament’s budget session has come as the first step towards introducing an ordinance as the cabinet cannot bring ordinances when the Parliament is ongoing.

Speculation that PM Oli may repeat his move like in April cannot be ruled out as he is in completely no mood to recoil his decision this time as his recent steps, including the abrupt prorogation of the House, have been quite suspicious.

Does the application seek registration of the erstwhile CPN-UML filed at the Election Commission has anything to do with the PM’s recent move?

“Not exactly, but this cannot be ruled out as it may not also be a mere coincidence.”

For instance, NCP Vice-Chairman Bamdev Gautam had earlier this week said that the registration process of the CPN-UML party at the EC has come with PM Oli’s blessings.

If he recurs his decision which he took in April to bring the ordinance paving the way for an easy split of political parties requiring the support of 40 percent in both the parliamentary party and the central committee, then it would be a grave mistake on his part.

Why did PM Oli make this abrupt decision (of prorogation)? “The Prime Minister might have taken the move to shield himself from the squall of criticism coming from the majority of the Standing Committee members on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In fact, most of the party leaders, including Chairman Dahal, senior leaders Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal, among others sought PM Oli’s resignation to ‘save the party’. But it is learned that they are even prepared for the party split.

PM Oli is aware of the fact that he does not enjoy the majority both in the party’s 45-member Standing Committee and the 9-member powerful Secretariat.

“This is the reason why he plays foul,” the leader said.

On Thursday, after meeting with President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, Chairman Dahal told Standing Committee members to “be prepared for any circumstances” giving a hint that the situation might take any shape.

Meanwhile, the Dahal-Madhav Kumar Nepal-led camp was busy in a serious discussion on Wednesday and Thursday to oust PM Oli at any cost.

With the party decided to resume the Standing Committee meeting on July 4, Friday will be a hectic day for the NCP leaders who will remain occupied in hectic meetings to keep the party intact as concluded in the meeting between Chairman Dahal and PM Oli’s confidants held at Dahal’s residence in Khulamtar on Thursday early morning.

Now that, whether or not the leaders will succeed in narrowing down the differences among the party leaders, PM Oli is sure to face another flurry of criticism, and yes, the same old demand of resignation!

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