The warring CPN Chairmen KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal talked for almost three hours at Baluwatar on Friday.
Dahal's press associate Bishnu Sapkota told Setopati that Dahal has returned to his residence in Khumaltar after the meeting that started at around noon. CPN General Secretary Bishnu Paudel and standing committee member Janardan Sharma were also present during the meeting of chairmen.
Paudel was witness on Oli's behalf and Sharma on Dahal's when the duo signed a five-point agreement before the then CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) unified on May 17, 2018.
What the two chairmen discussed during the meeting has yet to be revealed.
The second generation leaders in CPN standing committee earlier on Friday advised the party leadership to move forward on the basis of the mandate at the time of unification.
A meeting of standing committee members at the residence of Agriculture Minister Ghanahsyam Bhusal Friday morning advised the top leaders to not step back from the foundation of unification.
Province 5 Chief Minister Shankar Pokharel, Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai, Forest Minister Shakti Basnet, Energy Minister Barsha Man Pun, Political Advisor to the Prime Minister Bishnu Rimal and other standing committee members Surendra Pandey, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Janardan Sharma and Mani Thapa were present during the meeting.
The standing committee members handed over the responsibility of discussing with the two chairmen on the basis of their discussion during the Friday meeting to Minister Bhusal.
There was a five-point agreement before the then CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) unified on May 17, 2018. The fourth point mentioned that the two chairmen will lead the government as necessary on the basis of equality and equal period.
The ruling party is on the verge of split with the overwhelming majority of members during the ongoing standing committee meeting seeking resignation of PM KP Sharma Oli.
Oli has not been attending the standing committee meeting most of the times and he suddenly prorogued the House session on Thursday in what the rival faction deems to be a threat to split CPN bringing an ordinance to make splitting of parties easier as he had done in April.
Oli had also brought similar ordinance in April when the intra-party dispute was escalating and later took it back to defuse the situation following widespread criticism both inside and outside the ruling party.
The government cannot bring ordinances when the House session is on.
The Cabinet on April 20 had brought an ordinance about political parties to make splitting of parties easier. The Cabinet had brought the ordinance allowing splitting of a party with support of 40 percent in either the parliamentary party or the central committee. The act about political parties requires support of 40 percent in both the parliamentary party and the central committee to split any political party.
An overwhelming majority of members during the ongoing standing committee meeting have demanded Oli's resignation. Oli is in similar minority even in the central committee and would struggle to muster necessary 40 percent to split the party as is required by the current law.
Bringing a similar ordinance will allow him to split ruling CPN with backing of 40 percent in just the parliamentary party should he decide to split the party. An application for registration of erstwhile CPN-UML, reportedly with Oli's blessing, has already been filed at the Election Commission.
CPN Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal earlier on Thursday asked leaders close to Prime Minister (PM) and fellow Chairman KP Sharma Oli to point out weaknesses of both the chairmen.
"You all point my weaknesses and also those of the other chairman. It will be easy to reach a conclusion in the party that way," Subas Chandra Nembang of the Oli camp quoted Dahal as saying during the meeting at Dahal's residence in Khumaltar Thursday morning.
Dahal even pointed at his weakness in the meeting. "My weakness is renouncing my stand inside the party. I renounced the past agreements and my stands. He (Oli) has acted unilaterally in the party. I have been humiliated," Dahal said.
Dahal, who met with leaders close to him and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal Wednesday evening, invited Oli's confidants to his residence Thursday morning.
Deputy PM Ishwore Pokharel, CPN General Secretary Bishnu Paudel, Shankar Pokharel, Bishnu Rimla, Subas Chandra Nembang and Pradip Gyawali attended the meeting, according to Khumaltar sources.
Janardan Sharma, Barsha Man Pun, Surendra Pandey, Haribol Gajurel, Matrika Yadav and others from the faction of Dahal and Nepal also attended the meeting in Khumaltar.
Leaders close to Oli warned of an accident and opined that they should move forward together. They pointed that the party will not remain if the two chairmen, who united two parties, do not reconcile. "Communists have been finished in India. We cannot rule out similar eventuality even in Nepal if the leaders continue to bicker in this manner," Nembang said during the meeting.
Leaders close to Dahal stressed that everyone should honor whatever decision the party takes. "They (Oli's confidants) called for consensus but there was no proposal for consensus. We said that we all should honor consensus decision if there is one and also majority decision in lack of consensus," a leader close to Dahal said.
Oli has been under fire in the ongoing CPN standing committee meeting with members demanding his resignation. Seventeen out of 18 who spoke on Tuesday had demanded his resignation while those who spoke on Wednesday also asked him to resign.
He had told standing committee members close to him that he has been humiliated and pointed that such acts will set bad precedents in the party earlier on the day.
"Friends have asked for my resignation. What will happen if I resign? How will the party and the government move forward?" a leader, who attended the meeting of ministers and standing committee members close to Oli held in Baluwatar Wednesday morning, quoted him as saying. "I have been humiliated. This will set bad precedents."
Oli also pointed that there is a serious crisis of trust in the party. "There is a serious dispute and lack of trust in the party. The party is also in a serious crisis. You all should also play a role. What do you suggest and recommend?" another leader quoted Oli as saying.
The leaders advised Oli 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 said.
The standing committee 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."
They also advised Oli to think with a broad mind and act more responsibly due to his dual responsibility of PM and party chairman.
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.
Oli had 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 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.