Nepali Congress announces fresh round of protests against dissolution of HouseThe party is to organise large-scale protests at all district headquarters, including the Capital, on February 12.
Amid growing calls to take to the streets, the Nepali Congress on Tuesday announced a fresh round of protests against Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives.
A meeting of the party's Central Working Committee on Tuesday decided to organise a three-day protest amid a difference of opinion between party leaders over the prime minister’s December 20 move.
Various Central committee members, especially those from the rival Ram Chandra Paudel camp, pressed Deuba to announce large-scale protests, but the party president has been reluctant to do so, insiders said.
“Even Prime Minister Oli is organising a rally. Why should the Nepali Congress not do that?” the party’s central committee member Pradip Paudel told the Post.
Ahead of the central working committee meeting on Tuesday, senior leaders had discussed whether the party should announce the next phase of protests or not.
According to the decision, on February 1, the party's sister organisations will organise protest rallies across the country. Similarly, well-wishers of the party will take to the streets on February 6 and the final round of protests will be organised on February 12 at all district headquarters, including the Capital, said Bishow Prakash Sharma, spokesperson for the party.
“Besides these protests, any district party committee can separately organise rallies on their own,” said Sharma.
“We had asked the party president to organise large-scale demonstrations in major cities—similar to those being organised by both factions of the Nepal Communist Party. But Deuba did not agree,” said Pradip Paudel.
Factions of the Nepal Communist Party led by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal have been organising large protests in major cities in favour and against the dissolution of the House of Representatives. Both groups are announcing fresh protests every other day.
The leadership of the party had been reluctant to organise demonstrations earlier as well. But after facing criticism, it had organised rallies at the federal constituency, provincial constituency, municipal and ward level.
Before announcing the protests on Tuesday, Deuba and Ram Chandra Poudel held a series of meetings on Monday and Tuesday, a central working committee member said.
On Tuesday, before the meeting formally began, his rival Poudel tried to convince Deuba to organise large-scale demonstrations in big cities and continue doing so until the constitution is allowed to get back on track. “Until the constitution gets back on track, we should not leave the streets,” a leader considered an ally of Ram Chandra Paudel told the Post.
But a Deuba ally refuted the claims. “We have to complete the distribution of active party membership to organise the party’s general convention,” said General Secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka. “If we keep holding protests, how come we complete the processes integral to the general convention?”added Khadka.
“Second, we do not need to get involved in internal wrangling between the two communist factions. The upcoming central working committee meeting will take a decision on holding more aggressive protests once we complete this cycle of protests on February 12,” said Khadka.
During the informal meeting between Deuba and Poudel, some central working committee members urged the party leadership not to wait for the Supreme Court, which is hearing petitions against the dissolution of the House, to pass a verdict.
Party chief Deuba has been urging leaders to respect the legal process while calling Oli’s decision to dissolve the House as an “unconstitutional and undemocratic” move.
“People are pointing fingers at us,” a central committee member said. “We are looking like we are greedy for power and waiting for the opportune moment to join the government,” the member said.
Poudel on Tuesday said that the bottom-line of the party should be the restoration of the House. However, the Deuba faction wants to wait for the Supreme Court’s verdict.
The meeting also condemned the police action against demonstrations organized by the civil society members on Monday in Baluwatar.
“The constitution guarantees the right to protest against unconstitutional moves,” the party said in a statement. “The way the government took action against the peaceful demonstration and lobbed tear gas at them, baton-charged them and pointed water cannons at them...the party condemned the police action.”
Similarly, the party expressed concerns over public statements being made by Prime Minister Oli on the dissolution of the House.
Oli had publicly said that those opposing the dissolution of the House are anti-national. “The prime minister has failed to maintain the integrity of the high office and his statements are totally invalid and undemocratic,” the statement read.