“Ours is the original Nepal Communist Party. The faction led by Prachanda-Nepal duo is a splinter. Thus, the sun is the symbol of our party. The Election Commission will recognize us,” thundered Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli. “People will discard leaders of splinter group and throw them out of politics.”
“Prime Minister Oli is in minority. An overwhelming majority of party workers are with us. Election Commission will provide us our election symbol, of the sun, by recognizing us,” said Madhav Kumar Nepal, chairman of newly-split Nepal Communist Party. “Once the court restores the dissolved House, PM Oli camp will be deserted.”
If the statements of two former comrades and close allies for long, PM Oli and Nepal, are any indications, they show that NCP leaders are now in a fight to finish the other in the politics.
As the issue of the dissolution of House of Representatives is under a hearing by a five-member constitutional bench, rival factions are organizing political rallies in different parts of the country.
Leaders of both the factions are making personal attacks, terming the other side as a demon, in public meetings. Having built their political career by being associated with CPN-UML, the top brass, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhalanath Khanal, KP Sharma Oli and Amrit Bohara, will have to finish the other to survive in politics.
With the decision of Member of the Constitutional Bench formed to hear writs on House dissolution Justice Hari Krishna Karki has decided to excuse himself from hearing the writs henceforth, the bench postponed the hearing on the constitutional issue till January 13.
Justice Karki’s decision follows questions raised regarding his inclusion in the bench as he was appointed the Attorney General during KP Sharma Oli’s first stint as the Prime Minister in 2015.
Lawyers had argued that Karki shouldn’t have been picked as a member of the bench for the very reason. Given the nature of appointment of judges in the Supreme Court on the basis of party closeness, petitioners will raise the same question on the loyalty of justices.
This will not only delay the process of hearing but also question the judgment of the court in coming days.
Fight To Finish
If the current individual clashes and infighting between the warring factions of ruling Nepal Communist Party continue for some time to come, this will likely displace many established political leaders of the party.
As the split has already reached to the rural municipality level, it is likely to create a political ripple from center to local levels. Following the split at the center, both the factions have already started to strengthen their positions expelling the provincial leaders from the party.
Prachanda-Nepal led Nepal Communist Party has already expelled the current chief ministers from the party membership. Oli-led NCP has reciprocated by announcing the expulsion of the members of rival group.
With the infighting reaching the provincial level, six provincial governments are in a trouble to maintain their majority strength sending a signal of political instability.
“We will pull down all the provincial chief ministers from Province 1, Bagmti, Gandaki and Lumbini,” said Narayan Kazi Shrestha, spokesperson of Prachanda-Nepal led NCP.
With the withdrawal of support from PM Oli led NCP, the provincial governments in Karnali and Sudur Paschim have lost the majority. “We will replace two chief ministers from Karnali and Sudurpaschim soon,” said DPM Ishwor Pokharel.
At a time when two factions of NCP have already filed petitions claiming the legitimacy of the party, the Election Commission has amended its rules to formalize the split in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
As earlier rules didn’t allow the poll panel to recognize a split in a party after announcement of general elections, the EC can now decide which faction of the NCP is authentic and which should register with the poll panel under a new name.
Spokesperson for the Election Commission Raj Kumar Shrestha said the amendment meant that the EC could hear claims and counter claims of parties’ factions about who should use the original party’s name, flag, and election symbol during the election. According to Shrestha, previous rules prohibited the EC from recognizing a splinter group as a new party even after it submitted signatures of 40 per cent of Central Committee members and the Parliamentary Party.
Forming 1100 members’ central committee, both the factions are claiming themselves as a legitimate party. The process of recognizing the party is likely to take at least two months.
Watch And See
At a time when the factions of ruling Nepal Communist Party are calling the support from opposition parties Nepali Congress and JSP-N, both parties have ruled out any truck with Dahal-led NCP.
Once bitten twice shy -- that’s how the Nepali Congress and the Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal are reacting to the proposal of joining hands with the dissident faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) even for a common cause.
The NCP led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal has postponed its Standing Committee meeting for a couple of days to hold talks with other political parties, particularly the NC and the JSP-N, to launch a joint protest against the dissolution of the House of Representatives.
However, both the parties have ruled out joining hands with the Dahal-Nepal faction of the NCP.
Joint General Secretary of NC Prakash Sharan Mahat, ruled out any possibility of a joint protest with Dahal-Nepal faction of the NCP. “The HoR dissolution is unconstitutional and undemocratic and we will protest against it on our own,” he said. He added that his party did not want to join hands with Dahal-Nepal faction since leaders associated with that faction kept mum when the Oli-led government moved bills violating constitutional provisions to curtail people’s freedom. Moreover, when the government took no initiative to hold election for deputy speaker of the HoR they didn’t utter a word, he added.
Mahat said the Dahal-Nepal faction would join hands with Oli the day their self-interests converged with that of Oli’s. “Even if we do not join hands with others to protest the dissolution of the HoR, it will create positive momentum against the government’s act in the society and that will ultimately serve the public interest,” Mahat added.
JSP-N leader Rajendra Mahato also ruled out any truck with the Dahal-Nepal faction. He recalled that Madhesi Janajati forces had jointly fought for political change in the 2006 popular movement, but the major forces promulgated the new constitution after brutally suppressing Madhesi agitation and killing scores of people in the region.
As the factions of ruling party NCP are launching a nationwide fight to finish agitation, this will end the political careers of many political leaders whether elections are held or House revived.