New Delhi: The Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is expected to announce a split Tuesday into two factions — one led by incumbent Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli and the other by former Prime Ministers Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Madhav Kumar Nepal, ThePrint has learnt.
According to highly placed sources in Nepal’s political establishment, there will be a “formal split of the NCP”, the country’s ruling party, at two meetings of the party cabinet committee, which is chaired by both Oli and Prachanda.
At the first meeting scheduled for 9 am, the faction led by Oli is likely to expel Prachanda, the sources said. At the second meeting, to be held in the afternoon, the faction led by Prachanda and Nepal will likely expel Oli as party chair, the sources added.
The group led by Prachanda is then expected to announce Madhav Kumar Nepal as party chairman of their faction, the sources said.
The split comes on the heels of Oli’s controversial decision Sunday to dissolve the lower house of Parliament — two years before it was to complete tenure — and announce fresh elections after losing majority support in his party. The decision has been challenged by his opponents in the country’s Supreme Court.
The NCP was formed in May 2018 with the coming together of the country’s two major Left parties — the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist–Leninist) led by Oli, and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), led by Prachanda. It was decided then that the two leaders would serve as joint chairmen of the party under an electoral alliance.
“It’s very unfortunate that we are losing our party unity after two-and-a-half years. After dissolution of parliament by the PM without consent of the party, the split of the party is unavoidable now,” Bishnu Rijal, deputy chief of the party’s international relations department, told ThePrint.
Sources said Oli does not even have 40 per cent of the central committee members with him to split the party officially.
“Thus, he will claim his faction as NCP rather than constituting a new party under his name, while the other faction will also continue to use the party name,” said a Nepal government official who refused to be identified.
Oli, sources added, also has plans to file a case in the country’s election commission to start the process for elections, and then the Supreme Court to defend his decision.
Meanwhile, the Prachanda faction has said it will wait for the Supreme Court verdict on the petitions against the “violation of the Constitution” by Oli, and not go for elections, the sources said.
‘Forced to seek a fresh mandate’
Oli’s decision to dissolve the Parliament led members of the NCP and opposition Nepali Congress to take to the streets against the “unconstitutional” move.
In an address to the nation Monday, Oli sought to defend his decision, saying he was “forced to seek a fresh mandate through elections as attempts were made against my government, not to allow it to function properly.”
He highlighted the fact that the internal feud within the NCP had adversely impacted the government’s functioning. He blamed leaders of the party for forcing him to take the drastic step of dissolving the 275-member House of Representatives.