Dahal-Nepal camp yet to name a general secretary, despite its claims to legitimacyThe faction is awaiting the Supreme Court decision on House dissolution and the Election Commission’s verdict, party leaders say. Besides, more than one leader is eyeing the post.
The Nepal Communist Party has been cleaved into two, although the Election Commission is yet to recognise the split.
The Pushpa Kamal Dahal-Madhav Kumar Nepal faction, however, does not have a general secretary since it removed Bishnu Poudel, an ally of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who also leads the other faction, from the post on February 1.
Despite the Dahal-Nepal faction claiming itself to be the legitimate Nepal Communist Party, it has been corresponding with the Election Commission without a general secretary signing the papers.
According to insiders of the faction, Nepal and senior leader Jhala Nath Khanal have put their weight behind Standing Committee member Surendra Pandey to be the general secretary of the faction but the leadership has not been able to decide other leaders are also claiming the key post.
Poudel was elected general secretary of the erstwhile CPN-UML during the party’s ninth convention in 2014 beating Pandey and after the unification of CPN-UML and Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) in May 2018 to form the Nepal Communist Party Oli and Dahal picked Poudel as new party’s general secretary.
Oli also appointed Poudel as finance minister on October 14.
“It has been almost two weeks since the faction expelled Poudel from the post but because of claims for the post by several party leaders the top party leadership has failed to pick the general secretary,” said a Standing Committee member requesting anonymity.
According to several insiders of the party, party spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha, and Standing Committee member Ghanshyam Bhusal, Beduram Bhusal, Bhim Rawal, Janardan Sharma, and Barsha Man Pun have thrown their hats in the ring.
While the two Bhusals and Rawal belong to the former CPN-UML, Shrestha, Pun, and Sharma are from the CPN (Maoist Centre).
“Nepal and Khanal have thrown their weight behind Pandey but former Maoist leaders Sharma and Pun are also in the race and now party spokesperson Shrestha has also shown interest,” said a central committee member requesting anonymity. “However, if a dispute over these candidates continues, then Rawal may win the race.”
But according to a Standing Committee member, Pandey will be the next general secretary as the former UML faction has already forwarded his name for the post.
Asked why he has not yet been appointed general secretary, Pandey, however, ducked the question.
“Could you once call our senior leader Nepal and take an interview to ask why these posts were not yet fulfilled,” Pandey said in his brief reaction to the Post.
It is not just the post of general secretary that lies vacant in the faction. The faction has no vice chair as the undivided Nepal Communist Party vice-chair Bamdev Gautam has not joined any of the factions. The post of treasurer lies vacant too.
According to two senior leaders of the factions, the party is in no hurry to fill the vacant posts as it is awaiting the Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the December 20 dissolution of the House of Representatives.
Politics will take its course and it will be easier to make decisions on internal and organisational matters after the decision, they said.
“We have yet to fill other positions like that of the party’s vice chairman, treasurer and we have yet to form the Secretariat and Politburo,” Pampha Bhusal, Standing Committee member of the Dahal-Nepal faction said.
Of the nine members of Secretariat, Oli, Poudel, Deputy Prime Minister Ishwor Pokharel, and Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa are in the Oli faction while Dahal, Nepal, Khanal, and Shrestha are in the other faction. Gautam has remained neutral.
“All these vacant posts are not going to fill up within a few days. It will probably take some more time as we are also waiting for the Supreme Court’s verdict as well as a decision of the Election Commission,” said Bhusal.
The Election Commission is yet to decide which of the two factions of the Nepal Communist Party is legitimate even as the Dahal-Nepal faction has been claiming it to be the legitimate one as the faction has the support of the majority of Central Committee members.
“We will fill up the other remaining posts only after the party's general convention so I am not sure when vice president, treasurer, politburo will be formed but the post of general secretary will be filled soon,” said Raghuji Pant, a party standing committee member.
With several leaders claiming the post of the general secretary, when it will be filled is unclear. The leaders’ busy schedule with the faction’s ongoing protests against the House dissolution is an excuse.
“We are in agitation and both Dahal and Nepal are busy in various mass meetings so they have not found time to discuss it,” said Som Prasad Pandey, a central committee member.
However, a member of Dahal’s secretariat told the Post that the more important reason is that the faction does not want to upset the Election Commission which is yet to decide on party legitimacy claims.
“Why should we give them an issue by filling up such a vital post,” said the member of Dahal’s secretariat on condition of anonymity. “Once the Election Commission gives its verdict, we will have a new general secretary.”