Oli-Prachanda rift resufaces; PM hints splitting ruling party

Shirish B Pradhan
·3-min read

Kathmandu, Nov 1 (PTI) Rift has resurfaced in Nepal's ruling Communist Party following a meeting between Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and his opponent Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', with the premier hinting at splitting the ruling party, a senior party leader said on Sunday.

Oli and Prachanda resolved their differences in September by agreeing to a power-sharing deal, ending the months-long dispute in the party.

The party's internal dispute which had surfaced after the dissident group leaders, including Prachanda and senior leader of the party Madhav Kumar Nepal, demanded Oli's resignation from both as the party's chairman and as Nepal's prime minister after he accused the dissident leaders of conspiring against him to topple his government.

Oli, who met the party's executive chairman Prachanda, on Saturday hinted towards splitting the party, a senior leader of the party said.

Prachanda and Oli held the meeting after a gap of nearly two weeks, in which the prime minister told Prachanda that “if we cannot walk together, let's walk on our own.” Oli also turned down Prachanda’s request to convening party's Central Secretariat meeting to resolve the ongoing dispute.

The two leaders are at loggerheads over a number of issues, including the controversy that surfaced in the party following the recent meeting between Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) chief Samant Kumar Goel, and the Prime Minister, party sources said.

Oli has come under fire from the country's political leaders, including from the ruling Communist Party, for breaching diplomatic norms over his meeting with Goel on October 21.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) Bishnu Poudel said on Sunday that his party is currently facing “a serious existential crisis”.

Poudel, who is also the Finance Minister in Oli's Cabinet, wrote on Twitter that the “unified existence of the NCP is witnessing a serious crisis”.

Poudel has also called party's leaders and cadres and all well-wishers to contribute towards maintaining unity in the party.

In June, Oli claimed that efforts are being made to oust him after his government redrew the country's political map by incorporating three strategically key Indian territories.

India termed as 'untenable' the 'artificial enlargement' of the territorial claims by Nepal after its Parliament unanimously approved the new political map of the country featuring Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura areas which India maintains belong to it.

However, after several rounds of negotiations, the Standing Committee of the party on September 11 endorsed a 15-point decision drafted by a six member task force which was formed to resolve the long-standing dispute between two factions in the party, one led by Oli and the other led by Prachanda.

Under the agreement, Oli is entitled to run the government for the full term but he should consult the party while making key government decisions, and Prachanda would be provided with full executive power to run the party.

However, the dissident faction has accused that Prime Minister Oli was not abiding by the agreement. PTI SBP RS AKJ RS RS