KATHMANDU, Nov 19: Giving a new twist to the intraparty conflict, chairman of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) KP Oli, who is also the prime minister, has said that Executive Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal should resign from his position if the allegations he has made against Oli in a political paper presented at the Secretariat meeting are proved wrong.
In his speech at the Secretariat meeting on Wednesday, Chairman Oli also clarified that he will resign from the post if the allegations against him are proved true. Oli was responding to a political paper that Dahal submitted in the party’s Secretariat meeting.
The political paper submitted by Dahal has the support of senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Bam Dev Gautam and Jhala Nath Khanal. The political paper has raised questions about Oli’s working styles and involvement in corruption and irregularities.
However, the Oli-led faction in the party has alleged that the documents distributed as a political paper among Secretariat members is just an ‘allegation paper’. Although Oli initially insisted that he would participate in the Secretariat meeting only after the political paper was withdrawn, he had eventually decided to take part in the meeting.
Addressing the meeting, Oli has demanded 10 days to respond to the allegations made in the political paper submitted by Dahal. “I have not yet prepared a response to this. Next meeting can be held only to simply hold discussion or to settle [these allegations] it,” he said. “If this is proved true one has to step down. If this is proved wrong, another has to step down.”
Prime Minister Oli has also argued that none of the Secretariat members who supported Dahal’s political paper can stay in the position if the allegations are proved wrong. The remarks came shortly after the party’s General Secretary Bishnu Paudel, who is also considered close to Prime Minister Oli, proposed all Secretariat members resign en masse as they had all failed to give direction to the party.
Prime Minister Oli has taken strong exception to the demands put forth by the rival faction leaders in the party to step down from the posts of both prime minister and the party’s chairman. “What happens if I similarly asked the other chairman to step down? What happens to the procedures and system and organizational principles?” Oli has asked. “I want you to give consideration to this as well since this will create a new environment if I asked [the other chairman] to step down.”
Dahal presented the political paper in the party’s Secretariat meeting last Friday with the support of five of the total of nine Secretariat members. Arguing that the political paper had been introduced unilaterally by one of the two chairmen, Oli faction leaders maintained that it is not possible to hold discussion on the paper in the Secretariat meeting.
Addressing the Secretariat meeting on Wednesday, Chairman Oli insisted that one chairman cannot introduce a political paper without giving notice to the other chairman. He also argued that the political paper presented by Chairman Dahal “in a unilateral manner” marks the end of the past agreements reached during the unification of the erstwhile CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist Center).
Party insiders say the statement of Oli shows that the intraparty dispute within the ruling NCP has already reached its climax. If the second-rung leaders did not make any intervention to introduce a joint political paper of Dahal and Oli in the next Secretariat meeting scheduled for November 28, Chairman Oli is likely to unilaterally announce the end of the unity forged between the erstwhile UML and the Maoist Center on the eve of parliamentary election back in 2017.
Stating that he was prepared to face any consequences, Prime Minister Oli also asked his colleagues to make a choice of their path ahead. “I have come here facing jails, beatings and all kinds of torture. I have withstood lathis, boots and shoes to reach here. If I was able to face all those things, there is no difficulty for me to face any kinds of circumstances that are against me. The presenter of that letter and the friends behind this should make a choice which way they would want to go,” he said.