Ruling CPN-UML's rival faction to revive party committees across Nepal to strengthen party unity

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Kathmandu, Mar 19 (PTI) Upping the ante against Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, the rival faction of the ruling CPN-UML has decided to launch a nationwide campaign to revive and reorganise all the party committees the way they were before its merger with the CPN-Maoist Centre led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', according to media reports on Friday.

The rival faction of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist), led by Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhala Nath Khanal, decided to form the parallel party committees after the conclusion of the two-day national gathering of the over 4,000 party leaders and cadres close to the faction held on Thursday, according to a report in myRepublica.

They alleged that Oli, who is also the Chairperson of the party, was bent on splitting it.

“We are for the unity of the CPN-UML. So we will continue our struggle by being within the party. We don’t have any plans to announce a split,” Yogesh Bhattarai, a key member of the Nepal-Khanal faction, was quoted as saying by The Kathmandu Post.

“We, however, won’t attend the Central Committee meeting. But we may attend Parliamentary Party meetings if they are held following the due procedure,' Bhattarai said.

However, some leaders of the faction had boycotted the parliamentary meeting called by Prime Minister Oli on Thursday.

The meeting directed the lawmakers of the Khanal-Nepal faction to return with “self-realisation” or else face action.

Shanta Chaudhary, the party’s whip, said the meeting decided that the party will take necessary legal action against those who violate the party's directions.

According to the report, insiders say Oli appears to be clear in his strategy— proving his strength and dangling the threat of action against his opponents.

The Nepal-Khanal faction at this time finds itself in a tight spot. The March 7 Supreme Court order reviving the UML and the Maoist Centre came as a bitter pill to swallow for the group as it was left with no option than to return to the UML fold, it said.

The political scenario in the country worsened after the Supreme Court nullified CPN-MC's merger with CPN-UML. The two parties had merged in May 2018 to form a unified Nepal Communist Party following the victory of their alliance in the 2017 general elections.

The Nepal faction which had sided with Prachanda's CPN-MC after Prime Minister Oli's decision to dissolve the House of Representatives in December, seeking his resignation, had to return to the CPN-UML fold.

However, in a landmark ruling, the apex court last month reinstated the lower house of Parliament.

The faction maintained that their decision to revive the party committees comes in line with the verdict of the Supreme Court to recognise the party committee that existed before May 16, 2018.

Indicating towards Oli's decision to form some committees recently, Deputy General Secretary Ghanashyam Bhusal said they will revive the party's sister's organisation and party committee which would be led by the party members close to their faction who had faced defeat in the last general election, the myRepublica report said.

Claiming that the party can be saved only if they revived their committees across the country, Bhusal said that the move could also keep Oli's arrogance and haughtiness in check in the days to come.

The rift between the CPN-UML factions intensified after the rival Nepal-Khanal faction demanded Oli to take back his March 12 decisions that divested leaders close to the duo of key responsibilities in the party.

On March 12, the Central Committee meeting dominated by the Oli-led faction nominated 23 new members to the party’s Central Committee (CC). It also nominated 23 former Maoist leaders who joined the UML as CC members.

Meanwhile, CPN-MC Chairperson and former prime minister Prachanda has clarified that he did not seek to be the Prime Minister or lay any claim on the position, The Himalayan Times reported.

'Political consensus will decide who will be the next prime minister for which the political parties are currently holding discussions. Consensus would be forged soon,' he was quoted as saying in the report. PTI RS AKJ RS