Dahal at odds with Oli over multiple issues but denies any differences
October 26, 2019 06:50 AM NPT
File Photo: Republica
KATHMANDU, Oct 26: Recent remarks made by ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal show that his relations with the other party chairman KP Oli, who is also prime minister, have not been smooth of late.
As Dahal’s remarks signify deep mistrust between the two top leaders of the ruling party, many have speculated that this may have come about after Prime Minister Oli publicly indicated that he would not hand over the premiership to Dahal as they had reportedly agreed.
Party insiders say this is just one issue that has soured relations between the two top guns of the NCP. They further say that there are five other issues involved, including differences over appointments that need to be made at the transitional justice bodies, selection of a new candidate for the post of speaker, matters relating to a cabinet reshuffle and appointments to various party committees.
Although other leaders of the party have been claiming that there are no differences between Oli and Dahal over issues of party leadership, the recent turn of events clearly indicates otherwise.
The NCP decided to field someone loyal to the former Maoist faction in the election of the Chitwan District Committee of Construction Entrepreneurs last month. The NCP candidate was defeated and the Dahal camp has blamed lack of cooperation from those belonging to the former UML for this outcome.
Last week, Dahal publicly expressed his unhappiness with the party leadership, accusing it of promoting factionalism in the party. “NCP cadres abide by the discipline of factions and not of the party,” he said, venting his ire at party rank and file. “Our party suffers seriously from an ulcer and it can be cured only if we treat it on time,” he remarked. Dahal also expressed his discontent during a tea reception hosted by the main opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) last week.
Dahal, who is expecting a handover of sole leadership of the party to him by Prime Minister Oli, also warned that communist parties can implode due to reasons within rather than outside factors. “We have 800,000 cadres and each one of them has been turning in a different direction,” Dahal said while speaking at a party reception in Biratnagar on Friday. “It might not take long for the party to crumble if it is not driven by ideology and is wracked by indiscipline.”
Party insiders also say Dahal became sore with Oli after the latter backtracked from his assurance to hand over sole party leadership to him after his (Oli’s) return from medical treatment in Singapore some two months ago. Oli and Dahal are currently concurrent chairpersons of the party.
Miffed by the way Oli is reneging on his assurances, Dahal has lately intensified his meetings with senior leaders of the party including Madhav Nepal and Ishwar Pokharel to air his grievances, said those close to the former Maoist supremo.
The government has failed to appoint the heads and other office bearers of the two transitional justice (TJ) bodies since over six months mainly due to differences between the two men. Dahal is allegedly exerting pressuring to ensure the appointment of individuals loyal to himself as heads of the TJ commissions.
With the resignation of Krishna Bahadur Mahara as speaker of the lower house of parliament following his arrest for an alleged rape attempt, Dahal wants to present someone loyal to himself as a candidate for the post. But as a section in the party with UML backgrounds is demanding that the candidate should be someone loyal to Oli, most of the former Maoists including Dahal have felt more alienated from the party leadership, said sources.
Prime Minister Oli has also failed to reshuffle his cabinet despite repeated attempts, again mainly due to differences with Dahal. Sources said Dahal does not want his daughter-in-law Bina Magar recalled from the cabinet. However, Prime Minister Oli has been insisting on Magar’s ouster, following some controversy over the Melamchi Drinking Water Project.
Similarly, party leaders said Dahal and Oli are at odds over some key appointments to various party committees including the election committee and intellectuals committee.