*PM KP Sharma Oli was forced to withdraw from his rivals in the Communist Party of Nepal who enjoyed majority support in the Central Committee of the Party and the Standing Committee.*
17th July 2020
Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, who has been hemmed in for weeks by his rivals in the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (NCP), suggested that his replacement should be from the party’s CPN (Unified Marxist-Leninist) faction. The suggestion, made at his Thursday meeting with Pushpa Kamal Dahal, is seen as a new attempt to push a wedge between rival faction members. Dahal, who has been widely seen to be his replacement, is from the CPN (Maoist Centre). The two parties had merged in 2018 to form the Nepal Communist Party.
In November 2019, PM Oli, who came to power in a 50-50 power-sharing arrangement with Pushpa Kamal Dahal, renegotiated the agreement that envisaged allowing Dahal to run the NCP while he remained in the reins of government. Yet pressure from the communist party triumvirate-former prime ministers Dahal, Jhala Nath Khanal, and Madhav Nepal-to steps down has been building on PM Oli lately.
“It is a ploy to split his opposition and get Dahal and Madhav Nepal fighting among themselves. But I don’t think it will succeed. They (Madhav Nepal and Dahal) are determined that the prime minister should first step down,” an NCP leader told Hindustan Times.
PM Oli had survived the last rebellion in April-May this year when he picked up a feud with New Delhi over an 80-km road built near Nepal’s border and came up with a new political map. Later when his rivals, who have overwhelming support in the party’s the standing committee tried to push him out, he hit back with accusations that they were working at India’s behest to destabilise him.
Dahal did reject the charge, even hardened his stand against PM Oli, but ended up slowing down their the campaign against the prime minister. There were occasions when PM Oli skipped the meeting of the standing committee where he is in a minority, ostensibly because he wasn’t feeling well, even when the meeting was being held at his official residence.
The 44-member standing committee, which last met on July 2, was scheduled to meet at 3 pm this afternoon. But the meeting, the panel’s first in a fortnight, was postponed again at the last minute. It has been rescheduled to meet on Sunday, July 19.
Earlier this month, PM Oli’s associates floated the idea that it was meaningless to discuss their differences at the standing committee and PM Oli should try to arrive at an arrangement with Dahal at one-on-one meetings. There had been no meeting ground; PM Oli wouldn’t step down.
At his last round of meeting with Dahal on Thursday, PM Oli made the surprise suggestion about his replacement. Some see it as an attempt to buy time for him, something that he has particularly excelled in over the last few months.
People familiar with the discussions within the Nepal Communist Party said one of the possibilities being explored by party leaders was that the PM Oli standoff be referred to the 445-member central committee, which would have the last word.
“This could give him more time to work something out but would narrow his options, a party source said.
*Tags: *Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepal Communist Party, Jhala Nath Khanal, Nepal, PM KP Oli