Nepal faction stays away from UML Central Committee meetLeaders of the faction say the call for the meeting is illegal and is an attempt by Oli to break the opposition alliance.
The meeting of the controversially formed Central Committee of the CPN-UML has started at Baluwatar without the presence of the members belonging to the Madhav Kumar Nepal faction of the party.
Chair of the party KP Sharma Oli on Wednesday had converted the 264-member 10th National Convention Organising Committee of the party, which includes 23 members who were formerly in the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), into its Central Committee.
Earlier on Friday, three Standing Committee members close to senior leader Nepal—Surendra Pandey, Gokarna Bista and Bhim Acharya—had reached Baluwatar to request Oli to postpone the meeting, scheduled to discuss contemporary political issues, but he refused.
“We asked Chairman Oli to postpone the meeting and not spoil the environment of party unity,” said Surendra Pandey, who had reached Baluwatar before the meeting started.
On Thursday the Nepal-led faction of the UML had decided not to attend the meeting saying that the Central Committee must not include anyone except the ones that were its members prior to May 16, 2018 when the UML and the Maoist Centre merged to form the now defunct Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
Yubaraj Gyawali, a leader close to Nepal, said they were not taking part in the meeting called by an illegal committee.
“Oli’s call seems to be ill-intentioned,” he said.
He said that in order to ensure unity in the party there must be cordial dialogue between the top leaders so as to finalize the agenda of the meeting.
“Oli’s only intention is to break the existing alliance of the opposition parties and the bond within our group,” Gyawali told the Post, “and attract some leaders from our group to his fold.”
Twenty-six members of the dissolved House of Representatives of the UML belonging to the Nepal faction had supported Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba’s bid to become the prime minister as per Article 76 (5) of the constitution.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari, however, invalidated the bid and on the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli dissolved the lower House and called midterm elections in November.
The invalidation of the bid and the House dissolution was challenged in the Supreme Court and hearing on it is ongoing.
However, vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam, who had launched a campaign to unify UML and Maoist Centre and form a single communist party, joined the meeting on Friday.
“Let’s see what happens. We will continue our attempts to unify the party,” said Pandey when asked about the faction’s future plans.