Nepal-Khanal faction steps back; not to resign, but to abstain from votingAhead of his confidence vote, Oli makes an appeal to his party members to resolve differences through talks.
After hemming and hawing, the Madhav Kumar Nepal-Jhala Nath Khanal faction lawmakers have aborted their plan to resign en masse and instead decided to abstain from voting in Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s confidence motion.
“We have decided to remain absent during today’s confidence motion as our clear stance is that Oli should be removed as prime minister,” Bhim Rawal, a lawmaker from the Nepal-Khanal faction, told reporters after their meeting in Singha Durbar. “We have decided that this much will work for now.”
This comes as a huge setback for Oli who is going for a floor test on Monday afternoon. Without Nepal-Khanal lawmakers’ vote, Oli is certain to fail the confidence motion.
On Sunday, after a series of meetings, the Nepal-Khanal faction decided to wait until Monday morning to take a decision. There were talks about as many as 20 lawmakers resigning together on Monday itself.
The Nepal-Khanal faction decided to wait until Monday morning after Oli sent his two aides to hold talks in a last-ditch effort to stop the lawmakers from resigning.
Oli also issued a statement as CPN-UML chair, saying that resigning as lawmakers to remove own party’s government amounted to a criminal activity. In a conciliatory tone, Oli also said that no leader will be discriminated against in the party.
Later in the night on Sunday, Nepal too responded with a six-point letter, in which he called Oli to take the party back to the May 2018 stage and correct the decisions of March 12.
On March 12, through a Central Committee meeting, Oli had decided to amend the party statute to incorporate 23 leaders of the Maoist Centre and changed the responsibilities of party leaders, stripping leaders close to Nepal of their responsibilities.
On Sunday, UML Chief Whip Bishal Bhattarai issued a whip to all the lawmakers of the party to vote in favour of Oli’s confidence motion.
But lawmakers of the Nepal faction have said they are not obligated to follow the whip.
“If Oli wants us to follow his direction, he should follow what the Supreme Court had decided to revive UML in its previous status,” said Rawal. “We will follow him only after he becomes a legal chair of the UML as per the court’s decision.”
The Madhav Nepal faction has been demanding that Oli should begin from the point of May 2018 when the UML and Maoist Centre decided to merge the parties to form Nepal Communist Party.
After the Nepal faction decided to abstain from voting, Oli wrote on Twitter that he is ready to resolve issues through discussion.
“We can resolve any internal differences and dissatisfactions through mutual discussion. So I would like to draw the attention of all the lawmakers of the party to the fact that it’s not appropriate to take any decision in a hurry,” said Oli in his tweet. “Come, let’s sit together, discuss and resolve if there are issues.”