April 24, 2019 06:30 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, April 24: Top leaders of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP)—KP Sharma Oli, Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal-- are in a position of near equilibrium in the post-merger power equation in the party. Party insiders say all top three leaders enjoy almost equal power although the numbers of party chiefs and secretaries named in district committees this week remain slightly different.
Parties have an understanding to name 33 district chiefs from former Maoists with the remaining 44 districts to former UML leaders to maintain internal balance in the party in the context of the two communist parties merging to form NCP. The strength of former UML seems weakened with two leaders—Oli and Nepal-- competing for power in the party for long.Going by the total number of chiefs allocated, 17 chiefs are close to Nepal, claim Nepal supporters. They say the number of district secretaries supporting Nepal are 23. Except four chiefs and three secretaries who want to maintain neutrality as between Nepal and Oli, the remaining chiefs and secretaries are Oli supporters.
Since the party unification was announced leaders of the party were at odds over whether to mandate the chairmen duo-Oli and Dahal-- to select chiefs of district committees. Differences have surfaced over whether to empower chairman duo Oli and Dahal to pick district chiefs or base the picks on the strengths of the erstwhile two parties. Hoping to bag bigger pie in district committees leaders loyal to Nepal were advocating to let the previously elected chiefs lead district based power sharing as per the strength of the parties.
This week, the party leaders agreed to let the district chiefs run district chapters until the next general convention.
“So far, party unification has concluded based on set standards so there is no big dissatisfaction among party leaders,” said NCP leader Thakur Gaire adding, “Top three leaders are in equal position at the moment. But their performance and ideological stances to be taken in future will determine their real strength in coming days.”
Observers say the existing internal dynamics many not remain in the party in the context of all three leaders trying to bolster their position . Some Maoist leaders, who have distanced themselves from Dahal, have been making themselves loyal to Oli hoping to ensure their prospects. In a similar way, some former UML leaders are also reaching out to Dahal, assuring support for him in future.
The picture will be clearer when the party concludes its conventions of lower committees and sister organizations and from the stances to be taken by the top leaders. Leaders have pledged to conclude convention of lower committees within seven to eight months and hold within a year the first general convention of the party after unification .