Anger brews within ruling party

Published On: December 8, 2019 08:27 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 8: Anger is brewing within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) due to the failure of the leadership to assign roles and responsibilities to party leaders.  Many influential leaders have remained idle since the party was formed after the merger of the then CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre). 

Leaders say the party is losing its influence in its strongholds despite its strong presence in the federal and provincial parliaments and local governments due to the party’s internal organizations turning dysfunctional in recent months. Only nine top leaders have been taking the decisions whenever there are any issues to be dealt in the party. 

Party’s committees like standing committee, politburo and central committees are almost dysfunctional. The members of the standing committee, the second powerful body after the secretariat, have not convened since December 2018 although the party statute has a provision to hold such meeting in every three months.

Top leaders have not assembled for the standing committee meeting after senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and Bam Dev Gautam demanded One Leader One Position —a clear work demarcation among leaders holding party position and government role.  Of late, the party has not formed its politburo. There is a trend of top leaders appointing their confidants as politburo members. Not a single meeting of the central committee has taken place since June 2018. 

“Delay in holding party’s internal meetings has largely affected party activities,” said NCP leader Surendra Pandey, who demanded party meeting at the earliest. 

Asked about the impacts seen in the party in the absence of party meeting supposed to take place regularly, Pandey said, “What happens if you stop publishing newspaper? Our party is facing similar situation.” 

Some leaders in the party believe the massive party organizations and ineffective coordination among party leaders as the major reasons behind the party’s defeat in by-polls held last month. 

The main opposition Nepali Congress had snatched away at least two key positions --provincial assembly seat in Bhaktapur 1 (a) and post of mayor in Dharan Metropolitan City— from the CPN in the by-elections held on November 30. 

A congress candidate was elected ward chief of Chitwan, another stronghold of NCP. 

NCP candidate DP Dhakal was defeated by Krishna Lal Bhadel of NC in Bhaktapur-1 (a). Bhadel garnered 13,448 votes while Dhakal received 11,197 votes. In the 2017 provincial assembly election, NCP leader Hari Sharan Lamichhane was elected from the same constituency. 

In Dharan, Tilak Rai of Nepali Congress defeated ruling party candidate Prakash Rai. The NC candidate had registered victory with a margin of 2,795 votes in Dharan Municipality, which is known as a bastion of communists since decades. 

Of the total 54,848 votes, the winning candidate Rai had garnered 26,709 votes while NCP’s Rai received 23,914 votes. 

In an interview with Rastriya Samachar Samiti, the state-run news agency, NCP Vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam stressed on the need to review party activities and government’s performance. 

“Why did we fail to secure good poll results like previous elections? All the aspects should be reviewed,” leader Gautam stated, adding, “This shows we are gradually losing our hold. We must be cautious about it.” 

As party’s performance continues to worsen, a group of leaders including Janardan Sharma and Surendra Pandey have urged top party leaders to call party meetings and reactivate the party organization from central to local levels. 

Considering the calls from various quarters, executive chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is expected to call a secretariat meeting on Monday. The meeting is supposed to focus on reviewing the by-poll results and is also expected to decide about calling meetings of the standing committee, forming politburo and central committee among others. 

“The secretariat meeting called for Monday will help to reactive the party organization,” said the party’s general secretary Bishnu Poudel.

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