In a bid to prevent en masse resignation as lawmakers of the Nepal faction of UML, Oli withdraws action against four leadersResignation of more than 20 members of House of Representatives would have made it possible for the Nepali Congress to stake a claim to form a majority government. The deadline for such a claim is 9pm today.
Prime Minister and chair of the ruling CPN-UML KP Sharma Oli has decided to withdraw the action taken against four leaders of Madhav Kumar Nepal faction of the party who were suspended as the general members for six months for violating the party’s statute.
Oli’s move has come at a time when some 20 lawmakers of the party who are close to the Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal-led faction were discussing resignation en masse. Such a move could have helped the Nepali Congress to form a coalition government, as called by President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Monday after Oli lost a vote of confidence in the House.
“For the sake of party unity, today’s Standing Committee meeting has decided to withdraw the action taken against four leaders–Madhav Nepal, Bhim Rawal, Ghanashyam Bhusal and Surendra Pandey,” said Subas Nembamg, a Standing Committee member after the meeting held at Baluwatar on Thursday morning. “We have also entrusted the party chairman to take all necessary decisions citing the difficult situation in the nation and the party.”
The three-days time given by the President Bidya Devi Bhandari to make a claim for a new government of two or more than two parties is ending at 9pm today.
With the Mahantha Thakur-Rajendra Mahato faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party refusing to support him as the prime ministerial candidate, Sher Bahadur Deuba, the president of the Nepali Congress, the main opposition, was hoping for the resignation of Nepal faction’s lawmakers.
Their resignation en masse would lower the number of existing parliamentarians in the House of Representatives and that would mean less than 136 votes would be needed to form a majority government.
At present only 61 lawmakers of the Nepali Congress and 49 of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) in the House of Representatives are firmly on the side of forming a coalition government of two or more political parties as per Article 7 (2) of the constitution.
The UML’s decision to withdraw the decision to suspend the four leaders was taken by the party’s newly formed 19-member Standing Committee in which former Maoist Centre leaders have been included but does not have all those close to Nepal’s faction.
After the clarifications furnished by them were found unsatisfactory, Oli had decided to suspend Madhav Kumar Nepal and Bhim Rawal on March 29 and similar action was taken against Ghanashyam Bhusal and Surendra Pandey on April 1.
Party insiders said Prime Minister Oli has been given the sole authority to take decisions on party unity and government formation and therefore the leaders of second rung from both sides are preparing for yet another Oli-Nepal meeting later on Thursday.
UML leaders have said Oli will do everything possible to foil the opposition’s attempt to form an alternative government that could replace him.