Sunday 29th of November 2020

Is intra-party rivalry in Nepal Communist Party coming to an end?

2020-08-13 08:54:24

KATHMANDU- The intra-party feud of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is likely to get resolved with the chairman duo of the party closing in on an agreement to settle various disputes that were threatening the unity of the party.

According to a senior leader of the party, the two chairmen—KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’—are nearing a deal to settle the sticky issues like ideology, general convention and roles and responsibilities of the party.

The agreement between two leaders is likely to center around the general convention of the party, according to the senior leader.  But, it will be the deal where two chairmen will agree to postpone their most of the differences until the general convention, the senior leader said.

Jhalanath Khanal and Madhav Nepal—two senior leaders—along with party vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam, Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha and secretariat member Ram Bahadur Thapa have reportedly indicated their support to the agreement if that prioritizes the general convention in the earliest date possible with ‘fair’ sharing of roles and responsibilities in the party along with the government.

The agreement expected to be signed by next week will put the intra-party rivalry to rest.

The two chairmen’s brawl was getting so bitter that many political analysts as well as party insiders were predicting an imminent split of the party which was formed after unification between the then Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) and the CPN-Maoist (Center) in May 2018. The initial electoral alliances between the two communist parties in 2017 later morphed into the party unification. The party became the largest party able to secure the single-majority in the parliament to form the government. However, it lined up support from other fringe parties to enjoy a two-third majority in the parliament—a rare feat for the party.

 Though the unification of two major communist parties completed after the formation of the government, the power sharing—both in the government and in the party—between the chairmen duo has always been a bone of contention. Even an agreement of power sharing between two chairmen failed to resolve their differences.

Emboldened by the support of two factions each led by Nepal and Khanal, Prachanda, who is the executive chairman, was putting pressure on the party chairman and Prime Minister Oli to shed some of his power and settle other differences within the party. However, Oli has been not only refusing to relent to the pressure of the rival faction but redoubling his efforts to consolidate further power, fuelling worries of a split of the party. Both factions had even initiated signature collections to demonstrate their strengths in the party.

But, the equation in the NCP was changing in recent days after Gautam, a heavyweight in the party who was in Prachanda’s side earlier, announced that he would choose a neutral line in the intra-party feud.

According to party insiders, Gautam’s neutral line along with a pressure from second-rung leaders of both factions to save the party from the split put both chairmen back to the track of negotiations.

These negotiations between two chairmen are reportedly yielding results.

“Both factions have realized that the general convention is the final arbiter of all recurring differences in the party. This conclusion and realization in both factions have compelled them to work on solutions centered on the general convention,” said a secretariat member of the party. “This agreement will deal with power sharing including timeline of general convention, ideology of the party and responsibilities in the party and government until the general convention,” the source added.

Chairman Oli has also hinted about the possible deal in the party.

“I will not discuss the internal problems as those will be revealed one way or another,” said Oli in an interview on AP1 Television on Wednesday evening.

“It does not please the public to see conflicts occurring within the CPN, and there has been a lot of public outrage over such things, so it can be removed from the major discussion. As for how much time it will take, you can reach out to me in five days.”

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