CPN Chairman and Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli has met Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba as internal dispute in the ruling party escalates.
PM Oli and the main opposition leader talked for almost three hours at Baluwatar after two Saturday afternoon, according to a source. Oli had invited Deuba apparently to discuss appointments in constitutional bodies and universities but the source claims that the two leaders also discussed the dispute in CPN and future cooperation for power if CPN were to split.
The source added that Deuba was accompanied by central member Ramesh Lekhak and Oli by Deputy PM Ishwore Pokharel.
Lekhak conceded that he has also heard about meeting between Oli and Deuba but claimed that he was not present during the meeting. "I don't know the issues they discussed," Lekhak quipped.
The meeting between Oli and Deuba is considered meaningful even as the ruling party is on the verge of split. Oli had met Deuba and sent his confidants to meet the main opposition leader even when the dispute in CPN had escalated in July to scare his opponents in CPN.
Oli has announced end of past agreements and understanding with fellow Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal after Dahal's latest report. Dahal had presented a 19-page proposal during the secretariat meeting on November 13 criticizing Oli and slamming him for failing to properly run both the government and the party.
Talking about the proposal during the secretariat meeting on Wednesday, Oli said new solution should be sought as previous agreements do not remain. "Now that the charge sheet named as proposal has arrived, that has announced end of our previous agreements and understanding. After that letter has been drafted, it cannot be said that the past agreements stand," Oli said.
"The party now needs a new solution as the past agreements do not remain. We must look for new solution. I want we should and can go forward together, can save the party and keep it united."
He stressed that he saw distribution of such lowly and substandard allegations in such a prestigious forum for the first time in his life. "I didn't—and probably others also didn't—have experience of language, style and allegations of that level in a committee."
Oli demanded time to respond to the political proposal submitted by Dahal in the last meeting on Friday. He claimed that Dahal's proposal has baselessly made serious allegations against him and he will have to respond to that with preparations.
The meeting, therefore, decided to give him 10 days to draft the response.
Dahal had unilaterally presented political proposal in the last secretariat meeting on November 13. Dahal alleged CPN Chairman and Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli of failure in running both the government and party in the report.
Those close to Oli claimed that Dahal 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 was insisting that the secretariat meeting cannot be held until Dahal withdraws the report but the meeting eventually took place and all nine members including Oli attended the meeting.
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.
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.