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Nepal: Intra Party Feud in NCP Intensifies

Paper No. 6672                      Dated 28-Aug-2020
By Dr. S. Chandrasdekharan
“He never listens to anyone, never sticks to his words, never follows Party Procedure, never remains under anyone and never controls his speech.”  
One would think that this describes President Trump.  But No.  It refers to certain inborn characteristics of Prime Minister Oli as described by one Analyst in Nepalese Media- Shyam Shrestha.
Buoyed up by support from China and the President of Nepal and with his Chief opponent within the Party P.K, Dahal who meekly surrendered, Oli continues with his old style of working- taking unilateral decisions and not consulting even his own close Associates.
Oli and Dahal resumed talks on 13th August and a day later  they would form a “Six Member” Task Force to suggest ways and means to resolve the conflict between the top two of the leadership. Of the six members, two each were chosen from the camps of Dahal, Oli and Madhav Nepal.
It was hoped that with representatives from all the three camps and with the top feuding leadership having full faith in the members, some way would be found to find a solution soon.
But it was not to be.  Oli again took some unilateral decisions in long pending appointments, some important ones such as - Chairman of the Press Council of Nepal, Vice Chairperson of Youth and Self Employment, Chairman of the Revenue Boards and Member of the Revenue Board.
When the Six member team expressed their embarrassment, Oli claimed that these appointments were already in the pipe line and that he just passed it!  True to his character Oli could at least have informed the high-level Committee members that was formed with the consensus of all the three top feuding leaders. But Oli could not care less.
The Six member Task Force in one of their first decisions proposed that the national convention of the Party will take place in the second week of April next year.  But all the three leaders have expressed their inability to have it in April as they would need time.  The Convention takes place at the top most level only after conventions from the local levels are conducted and delegates chosen finally for the Convention at the national level.  This may take time. 
The merger of the two parties the Maoist Centre and UML took place in May 2018 and since then the leadership of the two at all levels have had an uneasy relationship.  While there were two factions earlier with the UML being the dominant one, now there are three factions- one of Oli and another of Madhav Nepal and the third - the former Maoists.  In case of Maoists some of the Senios  have deserted Dahal like the former Defence Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa.   Even the top two other leaders of the former UML, Khanal and Bam Dev Gautam are not with Dahal now.
Even the Nepali Congress, the main opposition  is in disarray and has not been able to provide a credible counter to Oli or for his antics.  The Top leader Sher Bahadur Deuba is also said to be following Oli’s methods and is not said to be consulting his senior colleagues.  Besides the two factions led by Deuba and Paudel other groups are seen to have emerged and many of the leaders  have ambitions of their own to become the President of the Party.  
Much was expected of the younger group led by Gagan Thapa, but they do not seem to have any effective voice in running the party. The convention that will be held in the course of the year is not likely to bring in surprises and perhaps the party is destined to be led by incompetent leadership!
The latest we hear is that Oli has given instructions to the villagers of Thori in Birgunj District to build a temple for Ram and the Archaeological Survey of Nepal is still looking for evidence of Ram’s birthplace in Thori Village!
Meantime with Oli trying all methods to save his seat, the Government is said to be clueless on the Pandemic (Wuhan Virus) that is spreading fast.  Over 40 districts are said to be under look-down and no one seems to understand that prohibitory orders are not an end by themselves. There are yet no dedicated Covid 19 (Wuhan Virus) facilities and no attempt is being made for contact tracing.  Medical equipment including the basic ones like masks are in short supply. The Health Workers are reported to be reusing disposable masks!
A large number migrants are yet to be rescued from other countries. A total of over 300000 migrants are yet to come from India.  According to Nepal Rashtra Bank, only 4 percent of the industries have been fully opened and another 35 percent have partially opened.  The rest are closed.  
While those migrants who have come from abroad are job less, according to the economic survey of 2020/21 around half a million youths are ready to enter the country’s labour force.   Already there is a huge gap between  job demand and job availability.
Since the Party Convention of the NCP is not likely to take place in the near future and Oli’s position to stay on till the end of the term is assured, it is time for his government to look into other challenges both on the Covid and the Economic Front.