KATHMANDU, Feb 25: As both factions of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) solicit support to form a coalition government in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s verdict to overturn the move of Prime Minister K P Oli to dissolve the parliament, the main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC), has decided not to give words to any of the factions until it is clear if the NCP is already split or still remains unified.
A meeting of the party’s incumbent and former office bearers’ held at the residence of President Sher Bahadur Deuba in Budhanilakantha on Thursday afternoon decided not to make any decision whether to support the Oli-led faction or the Dahal-Nepal-led faction as the status of NCP as a party still remains unclear.
“It is still not clear about the status of the NCP. Is this party already split or still remains unifiled? This has to be clear first. We will make decision only if a proposal to elect new prime minister is introduced in the parliament?” senior NC leader Ram Chandra Paudel told journalists after the meeting.
Paudel, who leads the rival faction within the NC, said it is too early to make any decision whether to support the Oli-led faction or the Dahal-Nepal-led faction of the NCP to form a coalition government. Leaders participating in the meeting said there was anomymity among leaders that NC should not make any overtures to support new government led by any of the two factions of the NCP now.
NC Joint General Secretary Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat said the ball is still in NCP’s court. “NCP itself is still the determining force for the formation of new government. They need to be clear first whether the party is already split or divided. It is too early for NC to make any conclusion at this stage,” he said.
On Wednesday, NCP rival faction leaders Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal had reached the residence of President Deuba to solicit NC’s support to form a new government. Deuba then had told them that he would take decision only after holding discussions within the party.
Sources said leaders close to Oli-led faction of the NCP have also reached out Deuba to solicit NC’s support to form a coalition government in the aftermath of the apex court’s verdict to overturn Oli’s decision to dissolve the parliament.
The NCP alone has a total 174 lawmakers in the 275-member House of Representatives. It is said that the Dahal-Nepal faction of the NCP commands support of over 90 lawmakers, while the number of lawmakers supporting Oli-led faction stands little over 80.
In case the NCP sees its formal split, the support of NC and Janata Samajbadi Party is a must to form a new coalition government backed by one of the two factions of the NCP.
The NC has a total 63 lawmakers in the parliament, while the number of lawmakers belonging to Janata Samajbadi Party is 34. A political party seeking to form a government under its leadership needs to garner support of at least 138 lawmakers.
Although it is not clear how they want to move ahead since the prime minister has decided not to resign immediately, the Dahal-Nepal faction of the NCP has started holding dialogue with other political parties represented in the parliament to form new government. On Thursday, the Dahal and Nepal faction held meeting with the top leaders of Janata Samajbadi Party to solicit their support to form new government at their office in Parisdanda, Koteshwar.
According to senior leader of Janata Samajbadi Party Rajendra Mahato, they had inquired if the NCP still remains united. The party, however, has decided to extend support to the Dahal-Nepal faction if they give written commitment to implement past agreements including bringing amendments in the constitution and releasing their leaders kept in prison on political cases.