Oli calls meeting of senior UML leaders, including Nepal and Khanal, at party headquartersThe meeting comes amid growing tensions in the party, which have raised the spectre of a party split.
CPN-UML chair and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has called a meeting of senior leaders, including Madhav Kumar and Jhala Nath Khanal, at the party headquarters in Dhumbarahi.
The meeting comes days ahead of a Central Committee called by Oli, which the Nepal-Khanal group has said they would not attend until Oli withdraws some of the decisions he has made over the past week unilaterally. Oli has called a meeting of the Central Committee on March 20.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has called a meeting with the Madhav Kumar Nepal faction on Monday morning in order to listen to the grievances that the faction has been voicing.
“The party chair has called a meeting at 11am today,” said Pradeep Gyawali, spokesperson for the UML. “Top leaders are attending the meeting. It is aimed at clearing up misunderstandings and differences between two groups that have emerged in the party.”
UML General Secretary Ishwor Pokharel, who is also deputy prime minister, Deputy General Secretary Bishnu Poudel, who is also finance minister, Gyawali, foreign minister, are participating in talks from Oli’s side.
Similarly, Nepal, Khanal and two other senior leaders are participating from their faction.
After the Supreme Court on March 7 revived the UML and the Maoists Centre by scrapping the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) which they had formed in May 2018, the Nepal-Khanal group, which had sided with Maoist chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal returned to the UML fold. But they have been opposing what they call Oli’s unilateral moves, including his decision to amend the party statute and to induct as many as 23 Maoist members into the UML Central Committee. Oli has also relieved some of the leaders close to Nepal of their responsibilities and replaced them with his loyalists. In a counter move, the Nepal group has started forming its own party committees. With factional feud rearing its ugly head, the UML appeared to be heading towards a split along Oli and Nepal-Khanal groups.
On Sunday, the Nepal-Khanal group, issuing a statement, accused Oli of trying to force a split in the UML. The group also said Oli lacks the fundamental political character, conduct and morals that a general member of a communist party should possess.
UML sources told the Post that Oli had initially called a meeting of the senior leaders at Baluawatar but the Nepal-Khanal group refused to attend. Later Oli decided to hold the meeting at the party headquarters in Dhumbarahi to which the Nepal group agreed, according to a leader.