Under-fire Karnali Chief Minister (CM) Mahendra Bahadur Shahi has removed chief whip of ruling CPN Gulab Jung Shah and replaced him with lawmaker Sita Nepali.
"You were appointed chief whip of the provincial assembly as per clause seven of the provincial parliamentary party statute and now have been relieved of responsibilities as your performance has not been satisfactory," the pink slip issued by CM Shahi, the parliamentary party leader, states.
Eighteen CPN lawmakers including 15 from erstwhile CPN-UML and three from CPN (Maoist Center) on Sunday registered no confidence motion at the parliamentary party against CM Shahi who is a former Maoist.
Shah as chief whip had registered the motion immediately after it was submitted on Sunday and even called parliamentary party meeting for Tuesday within a few hours. CM Shahi is understood to have removed Shah after he called the meeting.
Shah supports lawmaker Yam Lal Kandel, who led the registration of no confidence motion and is close to CPN Chairman KP Sharma Oli. Shahi's supporters were not in favor of calling the meeting so soon.
The termination letter sent by Shahi to Shah is dated Sunday in an apparent effort to delegitimize the parliamentary party meeting the latter called on Sunday.
The dispute in Karnali looks set to have an impact even at the center with CPN Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal urging fellow Chairman Oli to resolve the dispute.
Dahal met Oli at Baluwatar for almost an hour on Monday and told him that it is his responsibility to resolve the dispute. "What happened in Karnali was not good," Dahal's secretariat quoted him as telling Oli.
Lawmaker Yam Lal Kandel, who led the registration of no confidence motion, was close to Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam in the past but has recently joined the Oli camp.
Dahal expressed displeasure with Oli about activities against unification even before the unification process has been completed. "Chairman Dahal told fellow chairman that this will not send a good message to the party and people," the secretariat source added. "He stated that the acts in Karnali are against the spirit of party unity."
CPN has 33 lawmakers in the 40-strong provincial assembly with 20 from erstwhile UML and 13 Maoists. Kandel, who was a central leader of UML for a long time and a minister at the center, expected to be the CM as UML alone had majority in the province. But Shahi was made CM despite the then Maoists having just 13 lawmakers as part of the power sharing agreement that gave the post of CM to UML in four of the six provinces where the two parties together secured majority and to Maoist Center in two provinces.
The 15 erstwhile UML lawmakers who signed in the no confidence motion include seven from the Oli camp and eight from the faction of Senior Leader Madhav Kumar Nepal.