There are signs that both sides are edging steadily towards a solution to the party crisis with the Dahal group tempering its demands and Oli agreeing with the Standing Committee.
As the exercise continues to try to find a solution to the crisis within the ruling Nepal Communist Party, the two party chairs have decided to resume the ongoing Standing Committee, a positive step towards a compromise, say party insiders.
Oli and Dahal met on Tuesday for around two hours at Baluwatar in the afternoon. This was their second one-on-one meeting since Dahal called for Oli’s resignation, precipitating the crisis, reported the Kathmandu post.
“Though the two leaders agreed to continue one-to-one talks, no progress has been made yet. However, they have agreed to continue with the Standing Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday,” said Bishnu Sapkota, Dahal’s press adviser.
After Dahal and a number of senior leaders demanded the resignation of Oli on June 30 as both party chairman and prime minister, Oli prorogued the House on July 2, sparking fears of a split in the party. Afterwards, the ongoing meeting of the Standing Committee, which was where the call for resignation was made, was stalled. Second-rung leaders had urged the top leadership to only call a Standing Committee meeting after issues were resolved between the two chairs.
“Agreeing to hold the Standing Committee indicates that Oli is perhaps ready to face the meeting,” said Mani Thapa, a Standing Committee member who is close to Dahal.
Yet sources claim the faction of Oli could use the Standing Committee to launch its own assault against the opposing factions. Roughly 30 of the 44 members of the Standing Committee have so far called for the resignation of Oli.
While information about what happened at the closed-door meeting on Tuesday is scarce, Dahal camp leaders claim he is trying to avoid a split in the party.
“It is not clear what transpired during today’s meeting but it is clear that the party won’t split now,” said Haribol Gajurel, a Standing Committee member who is close to Dahal.
According to Gajurel, a potential offer on the table is the creation of a ‘mechanism’ within the party to work alongside the government and guide its actions.
One of the ruling party’s primary complaints by the Dahal and Madhav Nepal factions was that Oli is acting unilaterally, without consulting the party he represents.
Yet Dahal-Nepal faction leaders have also tempered their demands and are now saying they’ll consider the resignation from only one post.
“Our demand was that Oli should resign as both party chair and prime minister but things have become more difficult now,” said Raghuji Pant, a Standing Committee member from the Nepal faction. “Our bottom line now is that he must quit as prime minister.”
Party leaders from the camps of Nepal and Dahal claim that the autocratic streak of Oli has created more problems than solved them, but there are some who also agree that this is not the right time for an internal party crisis, particularly given the pandemic of Covid-19. Numerous second-rung members have now started calling for reconciliation.