A crucial meeting of Nepal’s ruling communist party to decide the political future of embattled Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli was postponed until Wednesday, a day after the Chinese ambassador met a senior leader amidst intra-party rifts and calls for his resignation over his style of functioning and anti-India statements.
The meeting of the Nepal Communist Party’s 45-member powerful Standing Committee was scheduled to be held on Monday.
Prime Minister’s press advisor Surya Thapa said the meeting was postponed until Wednesday. The reason for the deferment for a third time was not revealed.
The development came as China’s ambassador Hou Yanqi met with the senior leader of the NCP and former prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Sunday.
The activities of the Chinese envoy have been increasing in Kathmandu in the wake of the growing turmoil in the ruling communist party.
The differences between the two factions of the NCP — one led by Oli and the other led by party’s executive chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on the issue of power-sharing — intensified after the prime minister unilaterally decided to prorogue the budget session of Parliament on Thursday.
The Prachanda faction, backed by senior leaders and former prime ministers Madhav Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal, has been demanding Oli’s resignation.
According to a senior NCP leader, the Chinese ambassador met Madhav Nepal at his residence in Koteshwor on Sunday evening and they discussed the current situation.
The Chinese envoy also called on Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari on Sunday, My Republica newspaper reported on Monday.
This is not the first time that the Chinese ambassador has intervened in Nepal’s internal affairs at a time of crisis. One-and-a-half months ago, when the NCP’s intra-party feud reached the climax, Hou held separate meetings with President Bhandari, Prime Minister Oli and other senior leaders including Prachanda and Madhav Nepal.
This is for the third time that the Standing Committee meeting of the ruling party was postponed.
Meanwhile, Prachanda and Oli were having a fresh round of meeting at the Prime Minister’s office at Baluwatar in a bid to save the party from being split, as the differences reached its peak in the ruling party, with both the sides sticking to their respective stands.
The Prachanda-led faction has asked Oli to resign from both the posts of the Prime Minister as well as the party chairman, while Oli is not ready to quit any of the two key posts.
As 68-year-old Oli felt being cornered within the party, he met main Opposition Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba on Sunday in a bid to seek his backing to save the government in case the party splits.
Earlier, on Saturday, Oli met President Bhandari and held consultations.
There has been a demand from the party’s senior leaders and cadres to adhere to the principle of one-man one post in the party since the unification process between CPN-UML and Maoist Centre started two years ago, said Ganesh Shah, the Standing Committee member.
If Oli sacrifices one of the two executive posts, a solution to the present crisis could be found, he said.
There is a need to operate the party in adherence to the statute, and meetings of the Central Secretariat, Standing Committee and Central Committee should be held on a regular basis to run the party smoothly and not to allow any misunderstanding, he said.
There has been turmoil in the NCP for the past few months, but Oli tried to divert the attention of the dissident group by giving a nationalist slogan and updating the Nepalese map incorporating three strategically key Indian territories – Lipulekh, Kalapani, and Limpiyadhura — which served as means to pacify the internal tussle for some time.
However, the turmoil again surfaced since last week, after Oli accused the dissident groups led by Prachanda of hatching a conspiracy to remove him with the help of the southern neighbour.
Now Oli has become a victim of the trap he himself has laid, according to the political observers.
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