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PM Oli is paying Nepal faction leaders back with their own coin

ISSUE-4-4

Ever since the Supreme Court revived the CPN-UML and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) on March 7, KP Sharma Oli, the UML chair, has taken a series of decisions aimed at striking senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal with vengeance.

On Monday, the UML suspended Nepal, who led the party for 15 years as former general secretary between 1993 and 2008, as well as Bhim Rawal, the party vice-chair, as general members for six months, saying the clarifications they had furnished were not satisfactory.

The party also decided to seek clarification from two other leaders, Surendra Pandey and Ghanshyam Bhusal. Though the party had asked the four leaders to furnish clarification, Pandey and Bhusal had failed to respond.

Until the March 7 court decision when the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) was intact, Nepal, Rawal, Pandey and Bhusal had sided with Pushpa Kamal Dahal and formed their own faction within the party. The Nepal Communist Party (NCP) was formed in May 2018 after the merger of Oli’s UML and Dahal’s Maoist Centre.

The court order to revive the UML and the Maoist Centre, broke, in essence, the alliance between Dahal and Nepal, as the latter was left with no option than to return to the UML fold under Oli.

The party, in a letter sent to Nepal and Rawal, has stated that they are being given a final chance to mend their ways and work in favour of the party.

“The party can reduce the suspension period if you mend your ways. The party can take further actions if you continue anti-party activities,” reads the letter.

Action against Nepal follows his faction’s decision to continue parallel party committees as part of its struggle against Oli and what it calls “Oli tendency”.

The Nepal faction which recently organised a national gathering of leaders and cadres close to it has been holding meetings of its own leaders separately.

Storm has been brewing in the party for quite a while, as Oli has been trying to tighten the noose around Nepal and other leaders who once stood against him, even demanding his resignation.

After Nepal and other leaders returned to the UML following the court order, Oli amended the party statute, making himself all-powerful in the party.

Oli has authorised himself to change those elected to the House of Representatives under the proportional representation system if he wishes so and select office bearers in the Parliamentary Party on his own.

He also scrapped the Central Committee elected by the ninth general convention and formed a 264-member 10th national convention organising committee, maintaining his chairmanship and keeping the post of general secretary intact.

Oli and General Secretary Ishwar Pokhrel were given authority to select new office bearers and Standing Committee of the party.

Insiders say Nepal has been badly cornered in the party by Oli lately.

Monday’s decision to suspend Nepal as a general member seems to have emanated from Oli’s intention to exact revenge.

When the Dahal-Nepal faction of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) waged a war on Oli after the latter dissolved the House on December 20, they had expelled Oli as the leader of the Parliamentary Party. Dahal and Nepal had declared themselves chairs of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and removed Oli as the party chair in the third week of December. Then in January, they ousted Oli as party’s member.

Now with the UML revived, Oli seems to be paying Nepal back with his own coin.

Nepal told the Post on Monday evening that Oli does not have the legal right to take action because the latter is no longer the party chair ever since he “acted against the party statute”.

“Ever since he dissolved the Central Committee of UML, his moves have no meaning and they are illegal. I reject and denounce this action,” Nepal told the Post. “I would also appeal to all the cadres of the party to stand strongly against Oli’s regressive moves.”

He said he would counter Oli’s moves politically, as the latter is in a bid to end the communist movement in Nepal. “He has an allergy to communist party. This (UML) party is ours and does not belong to KP Oli,” he said. “He has no contribution in making the party. So, we will lead the party ahead.”

Party leaders have termed Oli’s decision to suspend Nepal and Rawal an attempt to split the party if Oli does not correct his decision.

Raghuji Pant, a Standing Committee member, said that Oli’s decision to suspend two leaders does not hold any meaning.

“We seriously suspect that Oli wants to break the party,” Pant, who is close to Nepal, told the Post. “Since Oli doesn't hold any legal ground to seek clarification from our leaders, he must withdraw the letters sent to the leaders so as to keep the party united. Such moves by Oli will only escalate tension in the party.”

The Nepal faction, according to leaders, will soon hold a meeting of its senior leaders in order to discuss ways to counter Oli.

Oli through the party’s March 20 Central Committee meeting had decided to seek clarifications from Nepal, Rawal, Pandey and Bhusal “for their involvement in anti-party activities.”

In their clarifications, the four leaders had asked counter-questions to Oli, accusing him of trying to run the party with an iron fist.

In the suspension letter sent to Nepal, the party has said the leader failed to admit his mistakes and introspect and self-criticise.

Oli has pointed to Nepal’s anti-party activities and factional politics as other reasons for his suspension.

“There is a possibility of continuation of such activities by you for your own own gains,” reads the letter. Such activities could create confusion among party cadres. Instead of seeking an apology despite the party giving a chance, you have sought unwarranted and absurd clarifications.”