High-level mechanism to discuss presidential electionKP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal have agreed to soon convene a meeting of the political mechanism, which the prime minister despises.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and CPN-UML chair KP Sharma Oli have agreed to hold a meeting of the High-Level Political Mechanism, a body comprising the chiefs of the seven parties in the ruling coalition, soon.
The two top leaders, who held a one-on-one at Oli’s residence in Balkot on Wednesday morning, also agreed to discuss the presidential election at the upcoming meeting of the mechanism, although Dahal has been downplaying the mechanism as irrelevant.
Leaders from the prime minister’s party had been arguing that there should not be any such body, which is not recognised by the constitution, to oversee the government.
According to party insiders, Prime Minister Dahal and other Maoist leaders have been expressing reservations about the mechanism as the body is headed by chief of the largest partner in the ruling coalition, Oli, who is often accused of being domineering.
Party leaders said though Dahal, who initially agreed to form the mechanism, was alarmed after learning that Oli has the backing of the chiefs of the Rastriya Swatantra Party and Rastriya Prajatantra Party, the third and fourth largest parties in the coalition, respectively.
Though the mechanism has already met once, Dahal later tried to avoid it after sensing that Oli was trying to take key decisions through the mechanism with the backing of RSP chief Rabi Lamichhane and RPP chief Rajendra Lingden.
Yubaraj Chaulagain, Maoist Centre leader and Bagmati provincial assembly member, said, forming a sub-alliance (of UML, RPP and RSP in the mechanism) within the ruling alliance and putting pressure on the government is not good.
“Other leaders of the coalition also have an equal responsibility to keep the alliance intact. The main question is whether that is the case,” he said.
Dahal had reached Oli’s residence at Balkot on Wednesday morning to discuss the current political situation, upcoming presidential election, and Cabinet appointments, according to the prime minister’s secretariat.
The coalition leaders formed a high-level mechanism under the leadership of UML chair KP Oli on December 30 to advise the government.
Back in 2018 when Oli, then chief of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), was the prime minister, Dahal, another chairman of the NCP, had proposed forming a high-level mechanism, but Oli rejected the idea saying that was unnecessary and unconstitutional. Now, Oli is leading a similar mechanism.
After Sher Bahadur Deuba became prime minister in 2021, Dahal proposed forming such a political mechanism to help the government at the policy level. The Deuba government formed a 11-member ‘coordination committee’ in November 2021.
Some leaders of the main opposition Nepali Congress have been publicly criticising the existing high-level political mechanism.
While speaking in the Parliament meeting convened to elect the Deputy Speaker on January 21, Nepali Congress General Secretary Bishwa Prakash Sharma said Oli had earlier dismissed Dahal’s proposal to form a high-level mechanism and now he has himself formed such a mechanism to cage the prime minister.
Replying to Sharma’s remark, Oli, at the same meeting, said criticism of the mechanism was pointless.
Experts say high-level political mechanisms, which the constitution does not recognise, have served as tools to control the government. The prime minister always fears being overshadowed by the high-level political mechanism.
Maoist Centre General Secretary Dev Gurung said the political mechanism should be seen as a consultative body, so there is nothing wrong with the existing high-level political mechanism.
Observers have been reiterating that such a mechanism has no relevance if they don’t show any results.
Rajendra Maharjan, a political analyst, said, “If we evaluate the high-level mechanisms formed so far, all of them have proved to be ineffective. They were formed just to serve the vested interests of certain politicians. The recent one is no exception.”