Chief minister of Karnali faces no-confidence motion from partyOli and Dahal due to meet today to defuse the tension that some leaders say was a result of party’s internal dispute.
Fresh tension has brewed inside the ruling Nepal Communist Party after a no-confidence motion was registered against Chief Minister of Karnali Province Mahendra Bahadur Shai in the party’s parliamentary committee on Sunday.
Eighteen lawmakers, 15 representing the former CPN-UML and three from NCP(Maoist), have signed the motion. The ruling party has 33 seats in the Provincial Assembly.
The motion states that Shahi is incapable of leading both the party and the provincial government.
The campaign to unseat Shahi is led by Yamlal Kandel. Kandel was Shahi’s main contender for the post of chief minister.
As per the power-sharing deal between the then UML and CPN (Maoist Centre), the chief minister’s post in Karnali Province was given to Shahi, who is from the Maoist camp.
Gulabjang Shah, the ruling party chief whip in the Provincial Assembly, said discussions on the motion will start within 15 days as per the parliament regulations.
“We have started a consultation with the senior leaders and the party members to convene a party meeting,” Shah said.
Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the ruling party spokesperson, told the Post that the issue was seriously concerning and the central party leadership will try to find a solution.
“The two party chairmen are due to meet on Monday in order to defuse the tension in Karnali Province,” Shrestha said.
Seeta Nepali, the party whip, also said it was for the central leadership to resolve the issue.
“This issue is related to the unification of the party, so the central leadership must find a way out,” she said. “Meanwhile, we will also hold discussions at the provincial level as per the parliament regulations.”
Some party leaders say what happened in Karnali Province is likely to take place in other provinces as well.
This is just a beginning, two leaders representing both the Oli and Dahal factions told the Post.
They warned that the governments in Province 1 and Bagmati Province could face a similar crisis.
“This is not just an issue of Chief Minister Shahi performing poorly in Karnali Province. This is about the internal power struggle inside Nepal Communist Party,” a leader from the Maoist camp said.
Some leaders from the Dahal faction said Kandel would not have filed the no-confidence motion against Shahi without Oli’s backing.
Though the leaders from the Dahal faction on Sunday tried to persuade Kandel against filing the motion until the meeting between the two chairmen, the request was not heeded.
Kandel was bolstered by the support of three provincial assembly members who are from the Maoist side, the leaders said.
Kandel allegedly offered ministerial berths to the three assembly members to win their support.
Mohan Baniya, a federal lawmaker from Mugu district, said there is widespread dissatisfaction against Chief Minister Shahi because his government has so far failed to lead development works in Karnali Province.
“What I can tell is that the Shahi-led provincial government was doing poorly and a lot of people were not pleased with his leadership. So the disaffected lawmakers have come forward in an organised way to remove him,” Baniya told the Post.
Although leaders like Bishnu Poudel, general secretary of the ruling party, Janardan Sharma, the party’s in charge for Karnali Province, had tried to stop the no-confidence motion from being registered, their efforts did not succeed.
“I do not wish to speak much about this issue. The two chairmen will meet tomorrow and it will be known if the issue was a local one or the one influenced by the centre,” Shrama said.
To settle the longstanding dispute inside the party, a six member task force, led by Poudel, had suggested a way out to mend the fence between the top leadership and how to revisit and revamp the party structure and the government.
One of the suggestions to the task force was reshuffling the cabinets at the center as well at provinces.
“But this is not how we wanted it to happen,” Pampha Bhsual, one of the members of the task force, said. “It is now up to the party secretariat to resolve this dispute.”
(Kalendra Sejuwal contributed reporting from Surkhet)