Kathmandu: With the decision of UML Chairman and Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli to exclude as many as 98 members of the Madhav Nepal faction from party’s Standing Committee, the UML appears to be inching to irreversible point of intra-party rift. The 10th General Convention Organizing Committee of the party on Sunday also decided to take actions against the lawmakers of the Nepal faction.
Why it matters
Both unity and rupture in UML will have a direct bearing on national politics. If the lawmakers close to Nepal faction decide to part ways and form a new party, they, especially those elected through proportional representation system, risk losing the posts of lawmakers. If Nepal faction stands tough and can lobby for a coalition with the Nepali Congress, CPN-Maoist Center, Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal, it could be a catalyst in toppling down the Oli government.
First, Nepal faction breaks away and forms a new party. But this is easier said than done because Nepal faction will have to have 40 percent members in the party’s Central Committee as well as the Parliamentary Party, which it lacks at the moment.
Second, Nepal faction will be a catalyst in bringing vote of no-confidence against the PM and vote in favor of the motion by crossing the floor. In that case, they might face action from the party chairman, and may lose the status of lawmakers.
Third, Nepal faction will still remain in the party despite what appears like a humiliation, for some leaders close to Nepal are switching loyalty to Oli camp. This trend might continue making the Nepal faction even weaker. Besides, a large number of leaders in the Nepal faction seem to fear that if they split, they might have to face the fate of CPN-Marxist Leninist (ML), the breakaway faction of UML, which reunited with UML in 2002 after it suffered a crushing defeat in 1999 general elections.
Fourth, if the PM as UML chair keeps persecuting Nepal faction, Madhav Nepal will have no option but to form a new party, come what may.
Prolonged conflict in the party that came to power on the promise of stability, prosperity and development is sure to generate deep sense of frustrations among people. When people start feeling that the ruling party cares only about its internal management, while people are dying of the pandemic, this is ultimately going to harm the party. But it will also have consequences for the country and people may have to pay dearly.