KATHMANDU, May 20: A storm is brewing in the newly-formed Nepal Communist Party (NCP) amid allegation that some second-rung leaders from the erstwhile CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) received “an unfair advantage” in the merger between the two parties.
With the recent merger between the UML and Maoist Center, a handful of leaders have further consolidated their position in the party, leaving their competitors far behind.
Leaders said there are particularly serious discontents over the newly announced party central command or headquarters comprising nine leaders.
The party’s high command includes two chairmen KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal as well as Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal, Bamdev Gautam, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Ishwar Pokharel, Ram Bahadur Thapa and Bishnu Poudel.
In particular, the rise of Bishu Poudel and Ram Bahadur Thapa along the party line have drawn criticism from their competitors and those above them in seniority list, accusing the leadership of unfair treatment.
The two leaders’ rise in the party rank has been looked meaningfully because they are well positioned to lead the party in the future.
But their rise has not gone down well among the rivals. Paudel, who was formerly UML’s vice general secretary and ranked ninth in the party’s seniority list, has been elevated to the high command leaving five of his seniors including Vice Chair Bhim Rawal behind.
Similarly, Thapa’s rise has drawn criticism from leaders including Janardan Sharma, Barshaman Pun, Shakti Basnet and Top Bahadur Rayamajhi all of whom someday hope to take Dahal’s place. Shrestha’s nomination has been seen as natural as he was considered second in the Maoist Center’s ranking after Dahal even as the party disbanded the party committees last year. Though no leader has expressed displeasure publicly, leaders from both parties have expressed reservation to the new central command.
Former Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal also lost his position in the seniority list. Though he ranked second in party’s seniority list, Khanal was given fourth place in the list after Oli, Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal.
Leaders said that the party faces similar challenge in finalizing the names of the central committee members and remaining standing committee. The party has not been able to give full shape to the 441-member strong central committee due to difficulties in finalizing names.
“We are yet to finalize around 100 names from erstwhile Maoist Center and 41 candidates from UML. The committee would be given full shape in some days,” said NCP standing committee member Pampha Bhusal.
Leaders said that the Maoist faction of the party is facing big problem finalizing names because of the long list of aspirants. There are around 400 aspirants for one hundred spots.
“Since we had nearly 5,000 members in the central committee in the past, there is obviously some challenges. That’s why the party is making criteria for the selection,” said NCP leader Mani Thapa.
There is intense struggle among leaders to secure a place in the party’s 41-member strong standing committee. Eight spots allocated to the Maoist faction are yet to be filled. Leaders said there are around 20 aspirants eyeing a place in the central committee.