KATHMANDU, Feb 19: Top leaders of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) have agreed to take a final call on merger of party committees in consultation with the members of the party unification taskforce as three days of internal deliberations to resume the stalled work ended inconclusively. The then CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center), which merged in May last year, have not been able to conclude merger of the districts and local committees, especially due to wrangling among various factions.
NCP spokesman Narayankaji Shrestha said that top leaders will be taking feedback from the taskforce members during a meeting scheduled for February 21.
“Since we are already behind the schedule, an appropriate decision would be taken after holding discussion with taskforce members,” Shrestha told reporters following a meeting of the party's secretariat on Monday.
Monday's meeting, a third meeting presided over by top leaders since Friday, came two weeks after some members of the unification taskforce proposed dissolving the taskforce arguing that it was beyond their power to decide on power-sharing issues.
On December 3, NCP had set up an eight-member taskforce with Ram Bahadur Thapa as coordinator to take forward the merger of lower organizations. But the taskforce had had allowed a month's deadline to pass without any progress. Besides Thapa, the taskforce comprises Bishnu Paudel, Shankar Pokharel, Barshaman Pun, Yogesh Bhattarai, Surendra Pandey, Beduram Bhusal and Lekhraj Bhatta.
The taskforce has only been able to do a fraction of the given task due to disagreements among its members, mainly due to factional wrangling over stakes in the unification process. Party insiders say a growing rift between chairmen KP Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal was also hindering the remaining works of unification. Dahal, according to his close aides, is not happy with the way Oli is trying to distance himself from the legacy of the Maoist insurgency and becoming silent observer of the judiciary's deliberate attacks to frame former rebels in conflict-era cases.
However, Mani Thapa, a leader considered close to Dahal, said that the internal power dynamics of the erstwhile UML was the main reason behind the delays.
“Mismatch in the words and action of some of the party leaders have raised questions about their sincerity in concluding the merger and taking the country toward the path of development,” said Thapa.
Leaders said the merger could take a few more weeks as several leaders have been demanding a fair share of portfolios across the party organs. Senior leader Madhav Nepal is particularly unhappy with the distribution of party portfolios and has demanded a restructuring of the party's provincial committees and lower committees.
Nepal faction is also calling on the party heads to adopt 'one person, one position' policy, barring those holding government portfolios from party responsibilities. Province 5 Chief Minister Ishwar Pokharel and Province 4 Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung have been concurrently overseeing party's works in their respective province.