Crucial Meeting of Nepal's Ruling CPN Begins as Fears of Splitting Resurface Amid Oli-Prachanda Rivalry
File photo of Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
The much-awaited crucial meeting of the Central Secretariat of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) began on Wednesday amidst fears of splitting, days after rift resurfaced in the party following a meeting between Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and his rival Pushpa Kamal Dahal "Prachanda". Oli, who is also the chairman of the CPN, and other members of the Secretariat were present at the meeting called at 1 pm (local time) at the premier's official residence in Baluwatar on the initiative of Prachanda, who is the executive chairman of the party.
All the nine members of the Secretariat were present during the crucial meeting, which Prime Minister Oli has been avoiding time and again on one pretext or the other. The meeting comes after rift resurfaced in the CPN following a meeting between Oli and his opponent Prachanda on October 31, with the prime minister hinting at splitting the party. Oli had also turned down Prachanda's request to convene a Central Secretariat meeting to resolve the ongoing power struggle.
Oli and Prachanda resolved their differences in September by agreeing to a power-sharing deal, ending the months-long dispute in the party. As the internal dispute in the CPN, that enjoys nearly two-thirds majority in the House of Representatives, has intensified, the largest communist party has come at the crossroads and it may split at any time, said party insiders.
However, the second rank leaders are working to patch up the differences between Oli and Prachanda, making last attempts to save the ruling party. During the meeting, Prime Minister Oli is expected to give an explanation to a letter submitted to him by Prachanda accusing him of running the government without consulting the party and failing to abide by the party's due procedures, according to sources close to the ruling party.
Earlier, Oli had asked Prachanda to take the letter back saying that he was not in a position to reply to it. In the morning, Oli went to Rashtrapati Bhawan at Sheetalniwas in Kathmandu to meet President Bidya Bhandari for the purpose of holding consultation regarding the internal turmoil facing the party.
According to party sources, Chinese ambassador Hou Yanqui went to Baluwatar to meet Oli and hold political consultation in the wake of the intra-party feud. The party's internal dispute had surfaced after the dissident group leaders, including Prachanda and senior leader of the party Madhav Kumar Nepal, demanded Oli's resignation from both as the party's chairman and as Nepal's prime minister after he accused the dissident leaders of conspiring against him to topple his government.
In June, Oli claimed that efforts are being made to oust him after his government redrew the country's political map by incorporating three strategically key Indian territories. India termed as "untenable" the "artificial enlargement" of the territorial claims by Nepal after its Parliament unanimously approved the new political map of the country featuring Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura areas which India maintains belong to it.
However, after several rounds of negotiations, the Standing Committee of the party on September 11 endorsed a 15-point decision drafted by a six member task force which was formed to resolve the long-standing dispute between two factions in the party, one led by Oli and the other led by Prachanda.