KATHMANDU, June 4: The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is in a fix over allocating party responsibilities after its top leaders, including two chairmen KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, insisted on naming their own trusted members to the party's crucial positions.
A secretariat meeting of the party scheduled for Monday was deferred after both the leaders pushed their own candidates for the top positions, mainly the head of the organization department. The meeting has been postponed sine die and the two chairmen are holding informal discussions on how to settle the responsibility allocation row.
Informed leaders of the party say many leaders are eyeing the post of chief of the organization department, a position considered powerful in the party. Oli and Dahal themselves are divided over whom to name the organization department chief. Since the chief of the organization department plays an important role in deciding membership of the party and promoting and assigning roles to the cadres, he or she can influence the party's crucial general conventions.
Considering the upcoming general convention of the party, both the leaders want to name their own trusted leader as the head of the organization department.
Oli is pushing for the party's General Secretary Bishnu Poudel as the chief of the organization department. But party leaders are not favoring Oli's first choice after "the revelation of his involvement in a land scam in recent days." Ram Bahadur Thapa is said to be Oli's second choice.
Dahal, however, has proposed Bam Dev Gautam as the organization department chief. Another leader Ishwar Pokharel has also been claiming the position.
The multiple claims from party leaders for the position of party chiefs and particular interests of the chairmen duo in picking the organization chief has complicated the responsibility allocation process. Due to the delay in allocating the responsibilities of party leaders in time, hundreds of senior leaders have been left jobless and the party's activities are almost nil on the ground.
The row over the responsibility allocation among the top leaders has emerged at a time when relations between the two chairmen —Oli and Dahal — have soured, especially over honoring a five-point agreement signed between the two leaders before merging the then CPN (UML) and the CPN (Maoist Center) to form the NCP.
The agreement, which was not disclosed formally until it was circulated on social media to the surprise of many recently, states that the two chairmen “will lead the government based on equality for equal periods of time”. Along with the then CPN-UML Chair Oli and then Maoist Center Chair Dahal, two other party leaders -- Bisnhu Poudel and Janardan Sharma-- who were closely involved in coordination between the two party chiefs, had signed the agreement.
Differences have emerged between the two leaders over their terms in the government and party leadership. Dahal has been reportedly piling pressure on Oli either to let him lead the government once two-and-a-half years of the total five years term of the current government is completed or the party through the party's upcoming general convention.