Oli to focus on polls, rival camp on protestsWhile Dahal-Nepal faction seeks support from other forces to intensify protests, Oli group is pleased with informal gatherings.
With the split in the ruling Nepal Communist Party following the dissolution of the House of Representatives, the two rival factions have decided to focus their short-term strategies on polar opposite objectives.
While the faction led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is preparing for elections, the camp led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal are seeking to forge alliances to demonstrate against the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
“The prime minister has told members of the Standing Committee that the focus should now be on making the elections successful,” said Subash Nembang, a Standing Committee member from the Oli faction.
While the Dahal-Nepal faction held the meeting of its Standing Committee at the party’s office at Paris Danda, the Oli faction held an informal Standing Committee on Thursday to chalk out short-term strategies.
“We have started discussions on ways to make ongoing protests more impactful by including as many groups as possible,” said Matrika Yadav, a Standing Committee member from the Dahal-Nepal faction. “Yesterday’s meeting of the two chairs with (Congress chief) Sher Bahadur Deuba was also part of an attempt to encourage the party to join the movement.”
Of the 44 members in the erstwhile Standing Committee before the split, 27 are in the Dahal-Nepal camp and 16 have sworn their allegiance to Oli. Party vice-chair Bamdev Gautam has so far remained neutral.
On Wednesday evening Dahal and Nepal met Deuba at his residence and asked him to join the protests. But Deuba was non-committal and said he needed to discuss the matter in the party, according to the party’s Ramesh Lekhak who was present at the meeting.
The Dahal-Nepal faction has also started discussions on strengthening the ongoing protest by incorporating all sections of the society, and focusing on the Kathmandu Valley.
But during Thursday’s Standing Committee meeting, according to insiders, Dahal told party leaders that discussions with different groups have been positive.
“Dahal said the discussions have been positive, but refused to elaborate,” said. “He may elaborate on it on Friday.”
The Dahal-Nepal faction has been holding protest programmes against the dissolution of the House as per a decision taken by the faction’s Central Committee.
Asked by the Election Commission about the expansion, Oli on Sunday wrote said that he, as the main office-bearer of the party, had expanded the Central Committee as the erstwhile 445-member Central Committee had lost its legitimacy in May last year after it couldn’t organise the party’s general convention on time.
Both the Oli and Dahal-Nepal factions have approached the Election Commission stating that theirs is the legitimate faction. But the commission has been unable to pass a decision. On Wednesday both factions had submitted the documents the commission wanted.
Oli also addressed a mass gathering in Dhangadi where he justified his move to dissolve the House saying he was forced to do so as detractors within the party did not let him work on governance.
The constitutionality of the dissolution has been challenged in the Supreme Court. But Oli has told the court that issues related to the dissolution are not for the court to decide as they are political and don’t fall within the court’s jurisdiction.
During the informal meeting of Oli faction’s Standing Committee held at Baluwatar, leaders have decided to intensify gatherings throughout the nation to attract more cadres to the group.
“During the meeting, I briefed the leaders about the ongoing activities at the Election Commission and the Supreme Court, including our preparations,” said Nembang.