Nepali Congress (NC), that was distant second in the House, has suddenly become kingmaker after the Supreme Court (SC) reinstated the House with ruling CPN virtually split into two factions.
NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba is undecided about what to do after Chairmen of the Dahal-Nepal faction of CPN Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal met him on Wednesday and proposed power sharing.
Deuba has called meeting of NC office-bearers on Thursday to discuss the recent political developments focusing on whether to join any government. Sources close to Deuba confide that the meeting will decide whether to try to form a government under the party's leadership or join one led by one of the two CPN factions.
Deuba told Dahal and Nepal that he will have to discuss the issue in the central committee meeting before taking any decision. He opened up with the party leaders and cadres about the current situation while attending the 99th birth anniversary of late NC leader Mahendra Narayan Nidhi after the meeting with Dahal and Nepal.
He pointed that the main opposition party could not even demand House session due to very low number of seats. "CPN had not clearly divided into two distinct factions then. We tried to convene the House session feeling that Oli was acting whimsically but we were short by two seats. We asked the Madhes-based parties (Janata Samajwadi Party) to demand House session but they said they will only discuss the issue," Deuba reminisced.
Deuba reiterated once again that ruling CPN is legally still a single party despite appearing to divide into two distinct factions. "They bickered among themselves. We can say there are two factions now but the party is still one," he pointed. "It's not our wish that the party should split. We don't want any party to split. The Election Commission may give a decision on that soon."
He said NC should now watch how the Dahal-Nepal faction acts after House reinstatement. "Whether they will table no-confidence motion or not. They probably need not if Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli resigns. I don’t know whether Oli wants to quit or not. It doesn't matter even if we say."
He claimed that he talked about election before the SC verdict feeling that it may endorse House dissolution as it did not issue a stay order. He stated that the SC has strengthened democracy by reinstating the House and advised Oli to resign. "Oli should either prove majority in the House after the court verdict. It would be better to quit if not. But we should not say what he should do and it's the matter of his party."
He added that the office-bearer and parliamentary party meetings will discuss what NC should do. He reminded how small the main opposition party is in the House. "We have so few seats that they may well remain ruling party and the main opposition party."
NC had won just 63 seats in the House and Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar is suspended and Mohammad Aftab Alam is in jail out of that. NC looks set to be demoted to the third largest party if the CPN splits into two different parties.
Deuba rued that NC still suffers from the old problem of internal bickering and divisions.
Deuba seems intent to join the government but Senior Leader Ram Chandra Paudel and former general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula, who had both lost the last election, say that NC should not join the government whether as a coalition partner or leading the coalition.