UML POLITICS Divided We Stand

They held several meetings and inked a deal. However, UML has still a long way to go before forging unity

July 17, 2021, 8:13 a.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 15, No. 01, July 16, 2021 (Shrawan 1, 2078) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

Four parties Nepali Congress, Maoist Center, Samajbadi Janta Party and Janmorcha are debating over power-sharing as CPN-UML is heading towards unifying its divided house.

Although outgoing Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who holds the key in the rank and file of the party, has not opened his card yet about the likely scenario, rebel leader Madhav Kumar Nepal has already announced that he will be no longer with the new ruling alliance, expressing his reconciliatory tones.

At the all-party meeting, UML leader Madhav Nepal shared that as the basic aims concerning reinstatement of House and clarification on various confusing articles of the constitution have been achieved, he would step back from the alliance and work towards UML reconciliation.

Nepal was later quoted as saying that as the primary issue has been resolved and as democracy has prevailed, he would now like to focus his energies entirely on reuniting the party.

CPN-UML leader Nepal’s statement has indicated that he will now return to his own party as his group achieved the aim of pulling down the Oli-led government.

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He expressed hope that his partners would understand his predicament and also advised Deuba to be as inclusive as he can be while forming the government, and to include UML in the discussions, too.

A Ten-point Agreement

Meeting several rounds with Oli and forging an agreement, the Nepal-led faction has shown that they are willing to reconcile in the party.

Following the fall of the government and the formation of the new government, unity matters of CPN-UML will be likely to intensify.

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They have to decide what to do on the vote of confidence motion in the HoR. Oli’s preference is election and he wants to foil this motion and hold the elections within six months. However, the Madhav Nepal-led faction has a different approach. They want to vote for the government and the parliament to complete the tenure.

Disputes had surfaced in the CPN-UML as Oli dissolved the House of Representatives on May 23 despite the formation of a 10-member task force on May 16 on the basis of consensus of CPN-UML Chairman Oli and senior leader Nepal.

After days of reunion-centered dialogues, the two rival factions of the ruling CPN-UML have finally reached a consensus on 'agreeing to agree'.

The task force formed to resolve existing issues between the two sides has struck a 10-point deal. The two sides have decided to resolve all existing differences and deal with issues internally for now.

A 14-hour long meeting of leaders representing the dissident sides facilitated the possible coming together of party chair Oli and senior UML figure Nepal, who has been at loggerheads with each other for months.

Leaders Subash Nembang, Bishnu Paudel, Pradeep Gyawali, Shankar Pokhrel and Bishnu Rimal have been initiating talks on Oli's behalf with Nepal-Khanal faction leaders including Bhim Rawal, Ghanashyam Bhusal, Surendra Pandey, Gokarna Bista and Raghuji Panta.

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However, the two sides have agreed to put differences aside, on paper, and move towards reconciliation for now, in what can be termed a breakthrough deal.

“The task force agreed to resurrect the party as it was on May 16, 2018, as per the court decision, deciding the number of party Central Committee members and on the management of the former Maoist leaders, who have joined the UML and on the court issue,” Bista said.

Senior leaders Subash Nembang and Bhim Rawal led the task force teams, which comprises Bishnu Paudel, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Shankar Pokharel and Bishnu Rimal from party chairman Oli’s side and Ghanshyam Bhusal, Gokarna Bista, Surendra Pandey and Raghuji Panta from the side of senior leader Nepal.

"The meeting held between party Chairman KP Sharma Oli and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal has increased hopes that the intra-party rift would finally come to an end," said leader Pandey.

The task force members agreed that all party committees and structures that existed before the CPN-UML's merger with the CPN-MC in 2018 would be revived.

Despite the ten-point agreement, the factional feud that evolved in the UML after Oli dissolved the House of Representatives is yet to die. Although both the factions are moving very carefully, their real test will depend on how they agree on voting on the confidence motion over the Deuba government.

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