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Nepal's Ruling Communist Party Calls Key Meet on Saturday to end Oli-Prachanda Infighting

File photo of Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

File photo of Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

The decision to hold a meeting of the Central Secretariat was taken hours after the party postponed for the fifth time the Standing Committee meeting till Sunday to give more time to Oli and the rival faction led by Prachanda, the executive chairman of the Nepal Communist Party to have more talks.

Nepal's ruling communist party on Friday decided to convene a meeting of its top decision-making body on Saturday to try and end the tussle for power between beleaguered Prime Minister and former premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' that has divided the party.

The decision to hold a meeting of the 9-member Central Secretariat was taken hours after the party postponed for the fifth time the Standing Committee meeting till Sunday to give more time to Oli and the rival faction led by Prachanda, the executive chairman of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to have more talks.

According to Prime Minister's press secretary Surya Thapa, the NCP has called a secretariat meeting after the two top leaders have agreed to call a conclave of the highest body of the party ahead of the 45-member Standing Committee meeting on Sunday in a bid to strike a power-sharing deal by sorting out their differences.

During previous meetings, Oli has refused to resign or give up his position as chairman of the NCP as demanded by the faction led by Prachanda.

The party has also decided to hold a crucial meeting of its 441-member Central Working Committee (CWC), Ganesh Shah, a Standing Committee member, told PTI.

The Prime Minister's fate will now be decided in the CWC meeting that could be held next week, he said.

The CWC is authorised to take a formal decision on the 'one-man, one-post' to be implemented in the party as per the demand of the dissident group led by Prachanda, he said.

Sunday's Standing Committee meeting is expected to fix the date for the CWC meeting, which will ultimately decide the future of Prime Minister Oli, Shah said.

The two leaders on Friday held informal talks to sort out their differences.\

Friday's meeting of the Standing Committee was to decide on Prime Minister Oli's future after talks to strike a new power-sharing deal between him Prachanda failed to make any headway on Thursday too.

Prime Minister and party chairman Oli, Prachanda and former premier Madhav Kumar Nepal also held an informal meeting at the PM's official residence on Thursday in an effort to end the intra-party rift.

Oli and Prachanda have held at least eight meetings in recent weeks to sort out the differences between them. But, as the Prime Minister did not accept the condition of a one-man-one-post, the talks failed, party sources said.

Top NCP leaders, including 'Prachanda', have been demanding Prime Minister Oli's resignation, saying his recent anti-India remarks were "neither politically correct nor diplomatically appropriate." They are also against Oli's autocratic style of functioning.

The differences grew further after Oli said that some of the ruling party leaders are aligning with the southern neighbour to remove him from power after his government issued a new political map incorporating three Indian territories.

The Prachanda-Nepal faction rejected the allegations, saying it is them who have asked for resignation, not India. They asked Oli to show evidence to support his allegation.

Prachanda has said that he will not allow the party to split and any attempt from anywhere to weaken its unity would hurt the country's fight against the coronavirus pandemic and natural disasters.

Last Friday, the meeting of the Standing Committee was postponed for a fourth time at the last moment, citing floods and landslides in the country.

The differences between the two factions of the NCP, one led by Oli and the other led by Prachanda on the issue of power-sharing, intensified after the prime minister unilaterally decided to prorogue the budget session of Parliament.


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