Confusion in the Madhav Nepal faction as Deuba is set go for floor testThe faction is divided with some saying they should save party unity and others pressing for saving the Parliament.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s decision to go for a floor test on Sunday, the day the restored House of Representatives is convening its first meeting, has created confusion in the CPN-UML as well as the Madhav Nepal faction of the party, which had extended support to the Deuba-led alliance.
The UML’s establishment faction, led by party chair KP Sharma Oli, has warned that the door for the dissidents would be shut if they vote for Deuba. Even some second-rung leaders of the Nepal faction are for saving the party unity, meaning they should avoid voting for Deuba.
While those leaders who were in the 10-member task force formed to work out a plan to save the party unity are against voting Deuba, some leaders who are loyal to Nepal are saying they should rather try to save the Parliament.
“Since our lawmakers took so much trouble and signed the petition filed by the Deuba-led alliance, it’s their moral and political duty to save the Parliament,” said Raghuji Pant, a member of the task force, who is close to Nepal.
As many as 23 lawmakers from the Nepal faction had supported the Deuba-led alliance’s petition demanding that the House be restored and the Congress chief be appointed prime minister.
The Supreme Court on July 12 had passed its verdict in favour of the Deuba-led alliance.
The Nepal faction’s support would be crucial for Deuba to win the vote of confidence. Deuba’s failure to win the trust vote in the House would lead to dissolution of the House and snap polls within six months.
Lawmakers including Metmani Chaudhary, Birodh Khatiwada and Ram Kumari Jhakri have been saying that they would save the Parliament by voting in favour of Deuba.
“It’s our duty to save the Parliament,” said Khatiwada. “We won't let the Parliament get dissolved again.”
Jhala Nath Khanal, a key member of the Nepal faction, also has said that they should vote in favour of Deuba.
Issuing a press statement, Khanal, who is currently in India for treatment, has urged the party leaders to vote for Deuba.
The UML, however, has said those voting for Deuba will not remain members of the party. The Standing Committee meeting of the Oli led faction of the UML on Sunday decided that anyone voting in favour of Sher Bahadur Deuba will not remain a member of the party.
Earlier on Sunday morning, the task force members had met with Nepal at his residence in Koteshwor during which Nepal made it clear that he would vote for Deuba.
“Madhav Nepal told the task force members that he would vote for Deuba even if he had to do so alone,” Pradeep Gyawali told reporters after the UML’s Standing Committee meeting at Chyasal, Lalitpur, on Sunday. “The members of the task force close to Nepal had asked him to take a collective decision. But he refused.”
Gyawali, as a member of the task force, was present in the meeting with Nepal.
Gyawali said the party will discuss the developments in the evening after Sunday’s voting and Monday’s Central Committee meeting will decide on those violating the party’s decisions.
Over the past few days, the situation has changed fast in the UML and it’s not clear how many lawmakers currently are with the Nepal faction.
With five lawmakers from the Mahantha Thakur-Rajendra Mahato faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party defecting to the Upendra Yadav-Baburam Bhattarai faction, Deuba will need the support of around eight lawmakers from the Nepal faction to win the vote of confidence.
Deuba’s Congress (61), the Maoist Centre (49) and Rastriya Janamorcha (1) together command 111 seats. The Yadav-Bhattarai faction of the Janata Samajbadi is said to have 17 votes that could go for Deuba.
Deuba needs to win 136 votes in the 271-strong lower house. Four members remain suspended.