Nepal PM Oli expelled from ruling NCP's general membership by Prachanda-led faction

Shirish B Pradhan
·4-min read

Kathmandu, Jan 24 (PTI) Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli was expelled from the general membership of the Nepal Communist Party by the splinter faction led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' on Sunday for alleged anti-party activities, further intensifying the infighting within the ruling party.

The decision was taken at the Standing Committee meeting of the faction of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) led by former prime ministers Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal after Oli failed to give an explanation to his recent anti-party moves as sought by party leadership, said Ganesh Shah, a senior standing committee member of the party.

Earlier in December, the splinter group had removed 68-year-old Oli, one of the two chairmen of the ruling party, as the co-chair. Madhav Nepal was named as the party's second chairman. Prachanda is the first chairman of the party.

The Prachanda-led faction on January 15 sought clarification from Oli alleging that he was carrying out activities that go against the party's policies. The faction decided to remove Oli even from the ordinary membership of the party after he chose not to furnish any clarification, party sources said.

Oli had been accused of violating party statute by the splinter group.

There is a provision of disciplinary action in party's Constitution in case of public activities against the party's principles, programs, policies and legal system, factionalism and conspiracy within the party, violation of party decision, lack of loyalty and trust in the party, breach of confidentiality, according to party sources.

The latest political development came two days after the NCP’s splinter faction led a massive anti-government rally, saying the 'unconstitutional' dissolution of the Parliament by Prime Minister Oli has posed serious threats to the country’s hard-earned federal democratic republic system.

Prachanda last week said that by dissolving the House, Oli has given a blow to the Constitution as well as the democratic republic system which has been established in the country through seven decades of struggle by the people.

Madhav Nepal, who last month replaced Oli as the chairman of the party by Prachanda-led faction, said that the Constitution has not given rights to the prime minister to dissolve Parliament.

Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 after Oli, known for his pro-China leanings, in a surprise move dissolved Parliament, amidst a tussle for power with Prachanda.

His move to dissolve the 275-member House sparked protests from a large section of the NCP led by Prachanda, also a co-chair of the ruling party.

Oli, who is the chairperson of a faction of the NCP, has said he was forced to dissolve the House after knowing that the Prachanda-led faction was planning to file a no-confidence motion against him and introduce an impeachment motion against President Bidya Devi Bhandari.

Meanwhile, a petition has been filed at the Supreme Court on Sunday to verify the authenticity of notice published in Nepal Gazette regarding the dissolution of the House of Representatives (HoR).

Leaders belonging to the Dahal-Nepal faction of the NCP — Krishna Bhakta Pokharel, Shashi Shrestha, Rajkumari Jhankri, among others — filed the application at the constitutional bench presently hearing the case at the apex court, The Himalayan Times reported.

The Office of the Attorney General on Friday submitted the copy of Nepal Gazette that has printed the notification about HoR dissolution. The notification was posted on the website of the Department of Printing on Thursday.

The constitutional bench of the Supreme Court had asked the Office of the Attorney General to produce the Nepal Gazette to see whether or not the presidential order on dissolution of HoR was published in it, on January 21.

Advocates Tikaram Bhattarai and Om Prakash Aryal — who argued on behalf of the petitioners challenging the dismantling of the House — had pleaded before the constitutional bench, saying that the dissolution order issued by the President’s Office was illegal as it was not published in the Nepal Gazette.

Bhattarai said Prime Minister Oli’s decision to dissolve the House on December 20 was unconstitutional and that President Bhandari had erred by endorsing it swiftly.

Oli-led CPN-UML and Prachanda-led NCP (Maoist Centre) merged in May 2018 to form a unified Nepal Communist Party following victory of their alliance in the 2017 general elections.

After a vertical split in the ruling party following the dissolution of the House, both the factions, one led by Oli and another led by Prachanda, have submitted separate applications at the Election Commission claiming that their faction is the genuine party and asked to provide them the election symbol of the party. However, the Election Commission is yet to decide the matter.

In December, China sent a four-member high-level delegation to Nepal to prevent a split within the NCP. The team - led by a Vice minister of the Chinese Communist Party, Guo Yezhou - held separate meetings with several top NCP leaders before returning home without much success in its mission.

India has described Oli's sudden decision to dissolve Parliament and call for fresh elections as an 'internal matter' that is for the country to decide as per its democratic processes. PTI SBP/CPS ZH AKJ AKJ