CPN-UML Chairman and Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli is preparing to deploy Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa for resolving the dispute with the Khanal-Nepal faction to the chagrin of the faction.
Oli had taken Thapa, who recently joined UML quitting Maoist Center, in the meeting of the two sides held on Friday to form task force to decide on the modality for return to the state before unification with Maoist Center. The Khanal-Nepal faction took exception to that pointing that the newcomer should not be involved in negotiations to return the party to the state before unification and should attend only after the dispute is resolved.
Central members of the faction who spoke during the virtual meeting on Saturday pointed at the presence of Thapa in the meeting on Friday and suspected that Oli may have made a tactical move in the name of dialogue.
But Oli seems determined to include Thapa in the task force despite the reservations of the dissident faction. "It is the PM's prerogative to decide who should represent him in the task force. He would include whoever he feels is appropriate. There is no meaning of others commenting on that," a confidant of Oli told Setopati. "We have not said who should come on behalf of Nepal. They also, therefore, cannot show interest about that."
The leader claimed that no questions were raised about Thapa's presence during the Friday meeting despite the media reports to the contrary.
Oli, who had failed the floor test on Monday, was reappointed prime minister (PM) Thursday night in capacity of the leader of the largest party in the House as per Article 76(3) of the Constitution after parties did not stake claims for majority government as per Article 76(2) of the Constitution within the nine Thursday night deadline President Bidya Devi Bhandari had given.
Nepali Congress (NC), and Maoist Center could not stake claims for majority government as Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) remained divided on the issue while the lawmakers of the Khanal-Nepal faction of UML did not resign en masse to lower the strength of the House to ensure that the majority government could be formed even without support of the Thakur-Mahato faction of JSP.
Oli will have to pass floor test within 30 days of appointment. He has essentially bought a month by agreeing to return back to the state before unification with CPN (Maoist Center) to stop the lawmakers of the Khanal-Nepal faction of UML from resigning.
Madhav Kumar Nepal told reporters that the chance of resignation has ended for two-four days coming out after the four-hour meeting with Oli at the residence of Rameshwore Thapa in Chapali Height, Kathmandu Thursday evening.
Nepal has briefed his faction that Oli has agreed to return back to the state before unification and take back the decision taken on March 12.
"I have asked Oli whether he will step back from March 12 or not, and return to the day of unification or not. He has provided positive answer saying he also wants to do that," Nepal reportedly briefed his faction about the meeting. "Oli has proposed to form a task force to discuss about how to return back to the state before unification taking back the step of March 12. He has said that he is not adamant on not returning to the state before unification."
Oli has been taking unilateral decisions in UML after the Supreme Court (SC) invalidated unification of UML with CPN (Maoist Center) on March 7 reinstating the two parties to the sate they were on the day of unification.
He held a central committee meeting of his faction on March 12 and inducted new central committee members and illegally amended party statute. He then dissolved all party committees keeping only the post of central chairman and general secretary, and replaced those committees with general convention organizing committees.
He later formed the standing committee excluding all leaders of the Khanal-Nepal faction. He had been bringing his agenda to the party meetings and getting it passed without deliberation in all meetings since March 12.
The Khanal-Nepal faction has been demanding withdrawal of the decision taken on March 12 and later to return back to the state before unification.
Oli, who was saying that the twin demands cannot be met, expressed flexibility during the meeting on Thursday.