Standing committee members close to under-fire CPN Chairman and Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli have advised him to stand firm.
They have also advised him to not worry about the things said during the ongoing standing committee meeting. "There is no need to leave the posts of PM and chairman. PM has not spoken anything wrong," a leader, who attended the meeting of ministers and standing committee members close to Oli held in Baluwatar Wednesday morning said.
The member pointed that there is no provision allowing the standing committee to remove anyone from party chairman and PM. "A general convention will be needed to remove party chairman. They should be able to remove him as PM from the parliamentary party."
Deputy PM Ishwore Pokharel, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, CPN General Secretary Bishnu Paudel, Deputy Parliamentary Party Leader Subas Chandra Nembang, Agriculture Minister Ghanashyam Bhusal, Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai and Industry Minister Lekh Raj Bhatta were present in the meeting. Standing committee members Satya Narayan Mandal, Raghubir Mahaseth and Chhabi Lal Bishwokarma were also in attendance.
Mandal told Setopati that the leaders advised Oli to listen to the opinions of leaders in the standing committee meeting. "We have told him that friends do speak during the meeting and urged him to take that positively. PM himself has also taken that positively."
Minister Bhattarai said Oli has assured he will also listen to other leaders and standing committee members after listening to those in the meeting. "Friends have advised PM to protect party unity at any cost, take initiative to resolve the internal dispute, make the party stronger and more united fulfilling the responsibility given by the history and the people, and foster the feeling of warmth and comradery by ending the crisis of trust," Bhattarai has posted on Facebook after the meeting. "Let's hope that it will move in the positive direction. Let's end proxy war."
Oli called the meeting of ministers and standing committee members close to him after coming under fire in the standing committee meeting on Tuesday.
Seventeen out of the 18 CPN standing committee members who spoke during the ongoing meeting on Tuesday demanded resignation from PM Oli
Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, senior leaders Jhala Nath Khanal and Madhav Kumar Nepal, Vice-Chairman Bam Dev Gautam, Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha, and standing committee members Beduram Bhusal, Ashta Laxmi Shakya, Mukunda Neupane, Bhim Rawal, Raghuji Panta, Yubaraj Gyawali, Ganesh Shah, Surendra Pandey, Janardan Sharma, Pampha Bhusal, Gokarna Bista and Bhim Acharya all asked for Oli's resignation. Oli was the only other leader to speak on Tuesday.
"Some said explicitly, others indirectly but all of them opined that Oli should resign," Shah claimed. "I said PM should pave the way on moral grounds as the majority of secretariat members have asked for his resignation."
Leaders close to Oli did not speak on Tuesday.
Dahal also added Oli's claims that India is trying to oust him has undermined the party's prestige.
"What you said against India on the day of Madan Bhandari's birth anniversary has undermined the party's prestige. We cannot maintain international standing by confronting India in that manner," a party source quoted Dahal as saying during the meeting.
Addressing a program organized in Baluwatar on Sunday to mark the birth anniversary of Madan Bhandari, PM Oli had claimed the media and intellectual discourse in Delhi, activities of the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu and meetings in hotels show what is being done to remove him.
"My government was earlier toppled after signing transit agreement with China but we have majority now. Nobody should think of removing KP Oli who has showed temerity to issue map by claiming our territory," he stated. "Let those who are trying try. Nobody should be in a haste. I don’t want to remain with responsibility of PM. But there will be nobody to speak for Nepal if I were to leave now. It's not for today but for tomorrow. Not for me but the country."
Dahal stressed that he and not Delhi is asking for Oli's resignation. "I and not Delhi had asked for your resignation even earlier. I and not Delhi is asking for your resignation even today. You should resign from both PM and chairman," he said during the meeting.
Responding to that Oli asked how the deliberations in the CPN meetings are reported verbatim in the Indian media.
Speaking earlier in the meeting senior leaders Jhala Nath Khanal and Madhav Kumar Nepal and Vice-Chairman Bam Dev Gautam also raised the issue of Oli's comments about India.
"The PM's claims are not trivial. This should be seriously discussed and the PM should provide information," the member quoted the three as saying. "The meeting is moving forward in a far serious vein than you are thinking from the outside," the member added.
Dispute between Prime Minister (PM) and CPN Chairman KP Sharma Oli and fellow Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has escalated in recent days.
The situation has worsen to such an extent that they failed to decide the agenda for the ongoing standing committee meeting before it started on Wednesday despite meeting for hours in the preceding days.
The two chairmen mainly differ on the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), and operation of the government and the party but the dispute has now transformed into clash of a personalities and bitterness.
The two chairmen have their own explanations for escalation of the dispute.
The chairmen had signed an agreement on division of responsibilities in presence of President Bidya 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.
Oli accuses Dahal of not supporting the government well, not publicly defending the government, and encircling him by holding factional meetings even after that agreement.
Dahal, on the other hand, points that he has not been allowed to function as executive chairman even after the agreement, and accuses Oli of dishonoring the agreement by going to the media and bragging that he remains the top-ranked chairman and will run the party, and later operating party meetings solely.
Dahal deems that Oli has grown more arrogant after he sacrificed and agreed to allow Oli to head the government for the full term, and Oli has started to humiliate him. That agreement was expected to boost mutual trust between the chairmen but has started a new series of lack of trust instead.
Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal have allied against Oli in the latest intra-party struggle for power. Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam, who has vacillated between camps, has recently joined the Dahal-Nepal camp to put Oli in minority even in the nine-strong secretariat.
Dahal had advised Oli to resign from both the posts of PM and chairman and rest at Balkot during the secretariat meeting on April 29 as the power struggle reached a boiling point.
Oli had tactically proposed to make Gautam PM to break the Dahal-Nepal alliance and succeeded in that to earn majority in the secretariat. Dahal and Nepal stepped back after that and the dispute had cooled down.
But Gautam has seen through Oli's ploy since then and returned back to the anti-Oli camp. The issue of MCC and accusation of the government's failure in handling COVID-19 pandemic have been added to the then list of differences.