At Secretariat meet, Dahal asks Oli to ‘sacrifice’ for saving party and republicIn his political document, Dahal points out the failings of the government, accuses Oli of being individualistic, and demands that the prime minister engage in ‘self-criticism’.
Tika R Pradhan
The ice may have finally been broken with the Secretariat meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party on Friday after a 40-day interval but the hatchet is yet to be buried.
Party chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal has accused the other chair and prime minister KP Sharma Oli of failing in his responsibilities and has called him to make sacrifices and accept his mistakes for the sake of party unity, constitution and the federal democratic republican set-up.
Dahal also accused Oli of not following the party programme and manifesto while leading the government and failing to control the pandemic.
“I hope that comrade KP Sharma Oli, with necessary sacrifice, will take the initiative and contribute to save party unity, the constitution and the federal democratic republic and the country with serious self-criticism,” Dahal said in his 19-page political document presented at Friday’s Secretariat meeting.
Going by the tone of the political document, Dahal wants Oli to resign as the government has failed in its nearly three years of rule.
He has accused the government of corruption in the purchase of medical supplies to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in March and Oli turning a blind eye to the corruption charges against Gokul Prasad Baskota, former information minister and an Oli ally, over the purchase of a security printing press.
“If the government continues to ignore the party's political programme and manifesto, there is a danger that this historic opportunity will be gradually missed. Such a situation cannot be excusable,” the report reads.
But, if a letter that Prime Minister Oli had written to Dahal on Tuesday is anything to go by, he will not heed Dahal’s oblique call to resign.
The letter dated November 10 was also presented at the Secretariat meeting.
In the letter, Oli refers to an earlier agreement that he would lead the government for the full five-year term while Dahal would be the executive chair of the party and important decisions would be made in consultation between the two.
The latest row between the two chairmen erupted after Oli appointed ambassadors and ministers, as the Dahal camp alleges, without taking him into confidence.
Oli in the letter, however, had said that these appointments had been made after talks with Dahal.
In the documents presented on Friday, which included three letters that had been exchanged in the past week between Secretariat members, accusations and counter-accusations had been evident, laying bare the degree of ill-will among them.
The three comprise a two-paged letter of five Secretariat members requesting Oli to call the party’s Secretariat meeting, Oli’s response to that letter, and Dahal’s response to Oli’s letter.
In the nine-member Secretariat, besides Dahal senior leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal, vice chair Bamdev Gautam and spokesman Narayan Kaji Shrestha are on one side and had been demanding a meeting of the Secretariat while Oli was for consultations between the two chairmen.
Dahal, as the executive chair, had threatened to call a meeting of the Secretariat even without Oli’s approval on Thursday but decided against it after Oli had agreed to a meeting on Friday.
But before the meeting Dahal had been meeting Secretariat members on his side for which Oli chided Dahal.
“I have urged [you] not to make your Khumaltar residence the headquarters of a faction,” Oli said in the letter. “I want to ask you if in the past the prime minister had his hands tied and been cornered?”
He accused Dahal and other leaders in his faction that they have been going around spreading lies.
Dahal, on his part, accused Oli of being against party unity, and agreeing to the new party’s ideology as ‘people’s democracy’ only to gain power even though he is not committed to it.
“By continuous encroachment in the party's organisational procedures and system, Oli has established himself as extremely individualistic and the leader enjoys factional politics,” Dahal says in his document. “It’s been essential to diagnose his attitude for the party, movement and the country. It is nothing personal but a compulsion for the sake of the party and the country.”
The next meeting of the Secretariat is scheduled for Wednesday after the nine members study the documents presented.
“We will brainstorm on the issues, analyse them and come to a conclusion,” said Khanal. “Many said we were fighting for a share of the resources but actually it was for ideological issues to make our party better.”
“Though there are many agendas to be discussed in the party meeting, we have decided to focus on the ways to resolve the crisis seen in the party,” party spokesman Narayan Kaji Shrestha told reporters following the brief meeting held at Baluwatar.