The main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) is confused about whether to topple the CPN government of Province 1 or not.
The faction of Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal has registered no-confidence motion against Chief Minister (CM) of Province 1 Sher Dhan Rai proposing Bhim Acharya as the new CM.
"I am ready to face the no-confidence motion. We can even give the leadership of the next government to NC," Rai, played a card like his leader Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli did on many occasions during the internal dispute in CPN at the center, after 37 CPN lawmakers out of 67 signed on the no-confidence motion.
One of the 37 signatories has changed camps since and joined the Oli faction but Rai is still in minority. His proposal, meanwhile, has enthused a few NC lawmakers including parliamentary party leader Rajiv Koirala who would be the obvious successor to Rai should the latter go ahead and help form a government led by NC.
Koirala, who is in the Shekhar Koirala led faction in NC, immediately left for Kathmandu to seek blessings from the center to become CM. But he has returned back to Biratnagar a disheartened man particularly after finding even Shekhar Koirala lukewarm about his prospects.
"I have found the environment inside NC as cold as the weather in Kathmandu is. The Dahal-Nepal faction has raised temperature instead," Koirala confided.
He is naturally eager to become the CM but the main opposition party is divided about which faction to support across the country.
NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba, who has been accused of conniving with Oli by the Dahal-Nepal faction, has reluctantly announced agitation against the House dissolution after initially arguing that NC should not opt for agitation in a way that can influence the court's decision on the issue and wait for the court verdict following intense pressure from Senior Leader Ram Chandra Paudel and others.
NC can play a decisive role in the province with 21 seats in 93-strong provincial assembly and whichever CPN faction it allies with can mathematically form the government. Parliamentary party leader Koirala and the Deuba faction in Province 1 are eager to form the government. But the Paudel faction and others are averse to allying with the Oli faction when the party has already announced agitation against Oli's step.
NC does not have provincial structures and the decision will have to be taken at the center. NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said the party will decide about what to do in Province 1 in consultation with parliamentary party leader Koirala. "What Rajib Koirala says will be more important than what the center says in this," Sharma told Setopati.
Koirala, meanwhile, said he has not been told that. "We are ready to immediately take decision if that is so."
NC leaders in the province complain that the center has neither taken a clear decision nor given the opportunity to take decision to the province. The party, therefore, is undecided about what to do in the provincial assembly session starting from January 20.
The parliamentary party, however, has started legal consultations and legal professionals have advised NC to not be too enthusiastic in the current situation. "CPN is still one party legally speaking and has yet to split," the legal professionals dampened down the party's enthusiasm during the meeting on Monday.
They advised that supporting the current government would be continuation of the CPN government and asked the party to treat both the factions as CPN instead of this or that faction.