Oli finally agrees to call CPN secretariat meeting

CPN Chairman and Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli has finally agreed to call secretariat meeting as demanded by the majority of members.

The meeting will be held at the PM's residence in Baluwatar Friday afternoon, according to a secretariat member.

The majority of secretariat members, who have allied against Oli, have been holding informal meetings in recent days with Oli refusing to call formal meeting. The last informal meeting on Tuesday had ended expressing hope that Oli will call secretariat meeting on Thursday.

Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, and Senior Leaders Jhala Nath Khanal and Nepal, Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam and Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha had met at the party office in Dhumbarahi Tuesday afternoon after Oli refused to call secretariat meeting.

The five secretariat members had met Oli at Baluwatar on Saturday and submitted a letter demanding secretariat meeting.

General Secretary and Finance Minister Bishnu Paudel, who was sent by Oli to the Dahal residence in Khumaltar on Monday as his emissary, had informed that secretariat meeting will be held within 15 days of the written demand in accordance to the party statute.

Dahal in response had pointed that he submitted the letter to Oli demanding secretariat meeting despite having the authority to call one as an executive chairman only for consensus. He argued that the provision of 15 days in the statute is not attracted in this issue and insisted that Oli must call secretariat meeting soon as per the demand of the majority of secretariat members.

An informal secretariat meeting of the ruling party on Friday had decided to urge Oli to call secretariat meeting. The five leaders had accordingly gone to Baluwatar on Saturday.

Dahal briefed the members in the informal meeting that Oli threatened on Thursday that a formal secretariat meeting called by Dahal would be the starting point on announcement of split.

The informal meeting was called to discuss the current crisis in the ruling party. Oli has adopted a confrontational tone and, Dahal claims that he proposed to even split the party on November 1.

Ruling CPN is again mired in internal dispute with Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal allying against Oli.

Oli, meanwhile, has vowed to swat away conspiracies against him by those inside the ruling party. Speaking at the start of Cabinet meeting on Thursday, Oli accused party leaders of conspiring against him in a way to invite instability. "There have been different kinds of maneuvers in Koteshwore. Different kinds of maneuvers about confidence and no confidence are being done," a minister quoted Oli as saying. "I am ready to face those maneuvers."

His broadside was aimed at the legal consultation by fellow Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Senior Leader Madhav Kumar Nepal held in Paris Danda earlier on the day to discuss the legal and Constitutional crisis the steps PM Oli can take in the current situation will invite.

The Dahal-Nepal faction fears, and PM Oli has been almost explicitly threatening, that he will  split the party if the Dahal-Nepal faction tries to oust him from Baluwatar by bringing ordinance even if he fails to muster 40 percent in both the central committee and the parliamentary party as required by the current laws.

The ruling party is again facing a grave crisis with Dahal claiming that PM Oli has proposed to split the ruling party even as Oli is in minority in parliamentary party, secretariat, standing committee and central committee.

Dahal, Khanal, Nepal and Shrestha have been together in the fight against Oli all the time while Gautam keeps on changing camps. Gautam is angry with Oli now after he was not inducted in the Cabinet in the latest Cabinet reshuffle.

Sources close to Oli, however, have claimed that Dahal has demanded the post of PM.

Dahal is reportedly aggrieved about the Karnali dispute, Cabinet reshuffle, Oli's meeting with Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Samant Kumar Goel, murder of a party cadre in Parsa and other issues. "His main demand is leadership of the council of ministers. The situation has deteriorated a lot," another leader close to Oli confirmed.

Oli and Dahal had signed a five-point agreement at the time of unification of  the then CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) on May 17, 2018. The two parties had unified to form CPN the next day on the basis of the five-point agreement.

The fourth point of the agreement mentioned that the two chairmen will lead the government as necessary on the basis of equality and equal period.

But Dahal had relinquished his claim for the post of PM after the two chairmen signed an agreement on division of responsibilities in presence of President Bidhya Devi Bhandari on November 20, 2019.

Dahal was made chairman with executive rights. Oli and Dahal were to remain chairmen, and Oli to continue to be ranked top but Oli had handed over the executive rights to Dahal.

Dahal was to lead the party and chair party meetings while Oli would lead the government through the current term of House of Representatives, according to the agreement.

The party was then on the verge of split with Dahal aggrieved that Oli continues to run even the party unilaterally and the overwhelming majority of members during the last standing committee meeting seeking resignation of PM Oli.

The two chairmen then formed a six-strong task force in August to resolve internal dispute in the party. The standing committee meeting then took decision on the basis of the report submitted by the task force that recommended that Oli would serve the full five-year term as PM and Dahal would take the wheel of the party.

Dahal was to be fully active in party works but required to consult PM Oli who will remain a sort of ceremonial chairman. Similarly, PM Oli was required to move the government works forward consulting Dahal.

But Oli has unilaterally made appointments of ambassadors and reshuffled Cabinet without endorsement of Dahal since the standing committee decision. Source: Setopati