KATHMANDU: For a while now, the Communist Party of Nepal has been dealing with an internal dispute after the resignation of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was demanded by Co-Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, senior leaders Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal, among others.
The standing committee meeting, which could not be continued due to the dispute, had been postponed indefinitely. Chairmen Oli and Prachanda had then formed a ‘CPN Problem Solving Suggestion Task Force’ under the coordination of General Secretary Bishnu Poudel in order to draft a consensus among the party leaders.
The task force, which was formed on August 14, handed over the report to the two chairmen on August 22. Leaders Bhim Rawal, Janardan Sharma, Shankar Pokhrel, Surendra Pandey and Pampha Bhusal were included as members of the task force. Per its recommendations, the meeting of the CPN Secretariat held on August 17 had approved the task force.
Currently, both chairmen are analyzing the task force’s report, and a meeting of the secretariat has been called on for Saturday. While some have seen the task force’s report as a means to strengthen unity within the party, others have complained that the report has ignored the core problem.
The dispute that erupted after the demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Oli has supposedly ended with an agreement to not ask for Oli’s resignation, and for him to remain the Prime Minister for five more years. However, why Oli’s resignation was demanded and how the root of the dispute can be resolved without asking for Oli’s resignation is still debatable. Top CPN leaders had demanded Oli’s resignation, citing that the government under his leadership had failed to do a satisfactory job, and that public dissatisfaction has increased since his tenure as Prime Minister.
Although the three leaders of the party- Oli, Prachanda and Nepal- had agreed on the task force, the entire party is not seen to be unanimous towards the report. Member of the task force Shankar Pokharel has indicated on his social media that, “The task force was formed to seek consensus in the party. A unanimous report has been prepared with the contribution of all. There is no point in telling a story.” Though Pokharel stated that a debate is pointless, many still continue to believe that was some dissatisfaction within the party.
Minister for Bagmati Pradesh Salikaram Jamakattel, who is considered a close ally to Chairman Prachanda, has stated that the task force has not been focused on the party’s main issue. In a social media post, he wrote “The report of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) Problem Solving Suggestion Task Force 2077 has been studied. In my understanding, the task force did not seem to have focused on the party’s main problem.” Thus, the question arises whether the task force has provided a long-term, permanent solution or simply a temporary cover-up to the party’s disputes.
Although the task force report mentions that the party will be consulted in government appointments, some appointments have fallen into controversies related to nepotism at the grassroots level. Similarly, although the government is said to be working in consultation with the party, it seems to be moving forward on its own.
The report states that the two chairmen will issue a joint statement immediately, and that “it is a positive outcome that the party has taken concrete initiatives to resolve its complex internal disputes.”
However, these efforts must be brought to a meaningful conclusion institutionally. The two chairmen have conveyed the message that the party leaders, cadres, members, well-wishers, and the general public should preserve party unity, make the role of the party and government more effective, and that Nepali citizens should also fulfill their responsibilities.
Although the report has stated that this should be done immediately, no joint statement has been issued even after six days of the report being handed over to the chairmen.
A meeting of the secretariat has been called on Saturday, where further decisions on the report of the task force will be taken. The report has suggested that the Council of Ministers and the local level government work in coordination with the party to make the work of the federal and state governments more effective. However, more issues may arise from this.
The report on the MCC project, which has been a controversial topic within the CPN, is an example. The report states, “The MCC agreement and the working group’s report will be discussed in the standing committee and the secretariat.” Earlier, the MCC study task force headed by former Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal had suggested that the agreement should not be passed without amendment. The MCC agreement is currently under consideration for approval in the Parliament.
After the Dispute Resolution Task Force report was made public, task force member Bhim Rawal wrote about the MCC on his social media saying that, “The news that Bhim Rawal has agreed to approve the MCC is false and misleading. In the report of the CPN Task Force on MCC, I was of the view that the provisions of the agreement against the interests of the CPN and constitution can be approved only by modifying and amending it. The report says the same thing. I heartily urge everyone not to distort the fact. Agreements against Nepal’s sovereignty, independence, independence, integrity, and self-respect can not be done. We won’t agree if somebody does such a thing. “
Prime Minister Oli’s efforts to pass the MCC are likely to be hampered by several leaders, including Bhim Rawal, entangling the MCC controversy with the CPN.