Nepal’s ruling communist party’s meet to decide PM’s future deferred for week over floods

KATHMANDU, July 10: A crucial meeting of Nepal’s ruling communist party to decide the political future of embattled Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli was on Friday postponed once again, this time for a week, citing floods in the country, amidst calls for his resignation over his style of functioning and anti-India statements.
The meeting of the Nepal Communist Party’s 45-member powerful Standing Committee was scheduled to be held on Friday.
NCP spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha told reporters that the meeting was deferred as the party is engaged in assisting rescue and relief operations, and minimise loss due to the landslides and floods that hit different parts of the country since Thursday following incessant rain.
At least 12 people have been killed in multiple landslides in Kaski, Lamjung and Rukum districts in ine country’s western part on Thursday.
Seven people lost their lives due to landslides in Sarangkot and Hemjan areas of the famous tourist spot Kaski district’s Pokhar, according to officials.
It is the fourth time that the crucial NCP meeting has been postponed. On Wednesday the meeting was postponed to Friday.
Top NCP leaders, including former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, have demanded Prime Minister Oli’s resignation, saying his recent anti-India remarks were “neither politically correct nor diplomatically appropriate.”
The differences between the two factions of the NCP — one led by Oli and the other led by party’s executive chairman ‘Prachanda’ on the issue of power-sharing – has recently intensified after the prime minister unilaterally decided to prorogue the budget session of Parliament.
The political future of 68-year-old Oil is now expected to be decided next week during the Standing Committee meeting, amidst the growing involvement of Hou Yanqui, the Chinese ambassador to Nepal, to save his chair.
The Prachanda faction, backed by senior leaders and former prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal, has been demanding Oli’s resignation, saying his recent anti-India remarks were “neither politically correct nor diplomatically appropriate.”
According to the media reports, Oli and Prachanda have held a series of talks to iron out their differences.
Oli is under intense pressure to step down from the posts of Prime Minister and party chairperson as a majority of the NCP leaders have asked him to do so owing to the government’s lackluster response to the COVID-19 pandemic and his unilateral actions, bypassing the party.
On Sunday, China’s ambassador Hou met senior leaders and former prime ministers Madhav Nepal and Khanal as hectic negotiations for a power-sharing deal were going on between Oli and the dissident group led by Prachanda.
The Prachanda-led faction has asked Oli to resign from both the posts of the Prime Minister as well as the party chairman, while Oli is not ready to quit any of the two key posts.
There has been a demand from the party’s senior leaders and cadres to adhere to the principle of one-man one post in the party since the unification process between CPN-UML and Maoist Centre started two years ago, said Ganesh Shah, the Standing Committee member.
If Oli sacrifices one of the two executive posts, a solution to the present crisis could be found, he said.
There has been turmoil in the NCP for the past few months, but Oli tried to divert the attention of the dissident group by giving a nationalist slogan and updating the Nepal’s political map by incorporating three strategically key Indian territories – Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura — which served as means to pacify the internal tussle for some time.
However, the intra-party differences again surfaced since last week, after Oli accused the dissident groups led by Prachanda of hatching a conspiracy to remove him with the help of the Nepal’s southern neighbour. (PTI)