KATHMANDU, Feb 25: Bhojraj Pokharel, a former Chief Election Commissioner, has said that the Election Commission (EC) should settle the dispute over legitimacy in the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) without any further delay.
Talking to Subhash Ghimire in Nagarik Frontline on Wednesday, Pokharel said that the EC, under its jurisdiction, should decide the dispute at the earliest. According to him, the election body has suffered from indecision due to undue pressure on it.
“Laws have authorized the EC to take necessary decisions on such issues. Therefore, it [NCP legitimacy row] should be decided accordingly.”
According to him, one can knock on the court’s door if not satisfied with the EC’s decision. “Before that, the EC should open the gate.”
He opined that disputes should not be left unresolved. “If they [Prime Minister KP Oli-led faction and Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal-led faction] reach an understanding, there will be no problem. But, if they stick to their earlier claims of legitimacy over the name and election symbol of the party, it means there is still dispute.” He suggested that the EC expedite the process to resolve the legitimacy dispute.
Following PM Oli’s December 20 move to dissolve the House, the ruling NCP witnessed a vertical split into two factions. Both factions reached the EC, claiming that they were the legitimate NCP. The poll body, however, refused to grant legitimacy to either of the factions as they failed to follow the Political Parties Act-2017 and the party statute, on January 25 earlier this year.
Further clarifying on the decision, the EC officials said it was difficult to bring any amendments, changes, or reshuffle the record as demanded by both the factions of the NCP as per the party's statute. The EC informed both the factions that the details submitted to them after the unification between the erstwhile CPN (Maoist Center) and CPN-UML remain unchanged.
With the latest decision of the EC, Oli and Dahal remain the chairpersons, while Bishnu Paudel still serves as the party's General Secretary, at least on paper. The Dahal-led faction had earlier removed Oli from the post of Chairman and picked Madhav Kumar Nepal in his place. The faction on Sunday decided to strip Oli of even the party's general membership. However, the Oli faction has not yet removed Dahal from the post of party chairman. With the decision of the Election Commission (EC), the decision of the Dahal-led faction to pick leader Nepal as the party's co-chairperson has become invalid.