CPN Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has reached the Shital Niwas to meet President Bidhya Devi Bhandari Tuesday evening as the dispute inside the ruling party escalates.
The meeting of Dahal with President Bhandari a day ahead of the secretariat meeting is scheduled to be held is being taken meaningfully. President Bhandari had held a long discussion with CPN Chairman and Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli on Friday.
The secretariat meeting scheduled for Wednesday has become uncertain with the Oli faction adamant on postponing it while others want it to go ahead even in absence of the Oli faction.
CPN General Secretary Bishnu Paudel, who reached Dahal's residence in Khumaltar as Oli's emissary earlier on Tuesday, proposed postponement of the meeting scheduled for Wednesday, according to a source close to Dahal. "General Secretary Paudel met Chairman Dahal with PM Oli's proposal to postpone secretariat meeting by 2-4 days. But Chairman Dahal has replied that the meeting cannot be postponed," the source said. "Dahal said that if the meeting has to be postponed, that can also be discussed in the meeting itself and added that the meeting must be held at the scheduled date."
CPN Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the secretariat meting will be held Wednesday unless the secretariat itself changes the date for the meeting.
Oli wants to postpone the meeting at any cost while those in the faction of Dahal and Senior Leader Madhav Kumar Nepal are adamant to hold it even if the Oli faction does not turn up. Sources claim that Oli has already discussed with his confidants about what to do if Dahal does not agree to postpone the meeting while the Dahal-Nepal faction has also held discussion and are preparing to hold secretariat meeting on Wednesday.
"The majority of secretariat members are awaiting tomorrow's meeting. But those in the Oli faction do not seem likely to turn up. The meeting can't be postponed," a standing committee member in Dahal-Nepal faction told Setopati. "The secretariat meeting may be held in Baluwatar on Wednesday eve if they don't come. It will be held there as the last secretariat meeting decided that it will be held in Baluwatar. It's up to them if they come or don't. But the meeting will be held."
Dahal had unilaterally presented political report in the secretariat meeting on Friday. The secretariat meeting had ended after setting agenda for the next secretariat meeting scheduled to be held on Wednesday.
Dahal has alleged Oli of failure in running both the government and party in the report.
Those close to Oli have claimed that Dahal has made arbitrary allegations against Oli in the report and pointed that there can be no way forward without withdrawal of the report. Some of them have commented that the report makes staying together in the same party difficult. The Oli camp says the meeting cannot be held until Dahal withdraws the report.
Dahal has support of four other members of the nine-strong secretariat on the political report and doesn't seem ready to take the report back.
The Friday's meeting had discussed the letter five secretariat members submitted to Chairman KP Sharma Oli, the letter Oli wrote to fellow Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal in response and the letter Dahal penned to Oli in response to Oli's reply.
Oli accused fellow Dahal of promoting factionalism in the party in his letter. Oli made the allegations while responding to the letter handed over to him by Dahal, and Senior Leaders Jhala Nath Khanal and Nepal, Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam and Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha on Saturday. Oli addressed the letter to Dahal copying it to the other four secretariat members.
"There is a long section in the letter addressed to Dahal alleging he has resorted to factionalism. He has claimed he has never said he will not convene party meeting," a source told Setopati about Oli's letter. "The letter urges Dahal to stop factionalism and come forward to work for the benefit of party, country and the people. The eight-page letter does not have anything in essence apart from alleging Dahal of factionalism."
Oli vented his ire on Dahal and accused him of attributing conversation that never happened between the two chairmen. The source added that the letter does not mention anything about the way forward to resolve the dispute.
Oli had expressed anger at Dahal even when the five leaders had gone to Baluwatar on Saturday to hand over the letter demanding secretariat meeting. Oli had repeatedly called Dahal fraudulent con man that day while Dahal hit back saying Oli is a bigger fraudster and con man.
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.