KATHMANDU- Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is convening its standing committee meeting today. The standing committee meeting scheduled to be held at the party office Dhumbarahi at 1 pm is said to be discussing the political reports of both party co chairs that they had presented in the secretariat meeting separately.
As the standing committee has been called despite NCP Chairman and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s opposition, he is less likely to remain present in today’s meeting.
The intra-party dispute has now entered into the standing committee after the ruling party’s secretariat failed to resolve the crisis. However, many leaders of the NCP see a slim chance of the crisis getting settled even from the standing committee.
Rival faction led by NCP Executive Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has now been demanding the resignation of Prime Minister and party chairman Oli from one the two posts he holds. However, Prime Minister Oli has already rejected the demand in the secretariat meeting held on Saturday.
There is preparation to provide some days for standing committee members to study the political reports of Oli and Prachanda that will be tabled in the standing committee meeting today. In that period, leaders are expected to make efforts to resolve the intra party dispute.
But those efforts are less likely to yield any result, making the standing committee a platform for flexing muscles for both factions.
NCP executive chairman Prachanda commanda majority in the party secretariat. Jhalanath Khanal, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Bamdev Gautam and Narayan Kaji Shrestha are in favor of Prachanda while Bishnu Prasad Paudel and Ishwor Pokharel support party chairman and Prime Minister Oli in the nine-member secretariat. Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’, a secretariat member who is also the Minister of Home Affairs, has so far remained silent on whom he supports. However, NCP leaders believe Badal would side with Prachanda when he has to choose one faction in the party.
NCP chairman Oli is not only in the minority in secretariat, but also in the 44-member standing committee. 30 standing committee members are said to be with Prachanda’s faction while Oli has only 13 members on his side.
The calculation is based on assumptions that Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Lekhraj Bhatta would support Oli in the standing committee. As Badal has maintained a neutral position so far, he has not been included in any camp.
However, leaders of Prachanda claim that Bhatta and Badal will ultimately come to their camp if they have to choose one faction in the showdown.
According to a source, Mukunda Neupane, a standing committee member who was supporting Oli, has also switched to Prachanda camp after getting close with senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal.
This is how the standing committee’s equation looks like:
Prachanda-Nepal faction (30 members)
Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, Jhalanath Khanal, Madhav Kumar Nepal, Bamdev Gautam, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Asta Laxmi Shakya, Surendra Panday, Bhim Rawal, Mukunda Neupane, Dev Prasad Gurung, Giriraj Mani Pokharel, Haribol Gajurel, Top Bahadur Rajamajhi, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, Ganesh Sah, Chakrapani Khanal, Janardan Sharma, Devendra Paudel, Pampha Bhusal, Barshaman Pun, Mani Thapa, Matrika Yadav, Lilamani Pokharel, Gokarna Busta, Ghanashyam Bhusal, Bhim Prasad Acharya, Yubaraj Gyawali, Yogesh Bhattarai, Raghuji Pant and Beduram Bhusal.
Oli faction (13 members)
KP Sharma Oli, Ishwor Pokharel, Bishnu Paudel, Kiran Gurung, Chabilal Biswokarma, Pradeep Gyawali, Prithvi Subba Gurung, Satyanarayan Mandal, Shankar Pokharel, Subhash Nembwang, Bishnu Rimal, Lekhraj Bhatta and Raghubir Mahaseth
Neutral so far (one member)
Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’