PM Oli gives deadline to Madhav Nepal faction to withdraw signatures: What will happen in UML now?

Nishan Khatiwada

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: Prime Minister and CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli has given a deadline till Monday to the Madhav Kumar Nepal faction to withdraw signatures that were made supporting Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba on May 24.

Speaking at a Central Committee meeting of the party held at Baluwatar on Friday, Oli warned that the party will not remain united if signatures are not withdrawn within the deadline. A total of 23 lawmakers from the Nepal faction had signed a writ petition filed at the Supreme Court (SC) demanding to reinstate the House of Representatives and appoint Deuba as Prime Minister.

UML lawmakers are not permitted to make the Congress leader a Prime Minister. This is not acceptable at all. It is like announcing the party split, Oli said on Friday.

At a time when the Supreme Court’s hearing is ending soon, ‘what will happen next’ has become a matter of everyone’s interest. 

Why does it matter? 

Oli seems to be in a ‘do-or-die’ situation. So, as the Supreme Court verdict is nearing, he desires to leave no stones unturned to continue to be in power. Oli might have taken this move considering a strong probability that the Court will reinstate the House. Meanwhile, it is argued that the lawmakers can act on their discretion to make a leader prime minister by garnering a majority based on Article 76 (5) of the Constitution as the Article is different from 76 (2).

The Madhav Kumar Nepal faction is apparently in a dilemma as the party chairman’s directive stays like a sword in their neck, on one hand, and the case is under Court’s hearing, on the other. 

The Madhav Kumar Nepal faction is apparently in a dilemma as the party chairman’s directive stays like a sword in their neck, on one hand, and the case is under Court’s hearing, on the other. 

Next, KP Oli can suspend the 23 leaders from the rival faction if they do not withdraw their signatures by Monday. But that is likely to weaken his position if the election happens or if the House gets reinstated. Moreover, what seems to be more uncertain is the grounds on which KP Oli will do so. 

Of late, the Oli faction has been claiming that the Central Committee has been taken back to the status of May 16, 2018. But the Nepal faction has refused to accept it, arguing that leaders defecting to the CPN (Maoist Center) have also been included in the Central Committee of UML. It signifies the failure of KP Oli to bring the Madhav Nepal faction into confidence and the chances of unification are getting slimmer every day. Besides, many Madhav Nepal faction leaders are in no mood to accept Oli’s deadline. 

After the deadline set by KP Oli, Ram Kumari Jhakri, a leader of the Madhav Nepal faction, claimed that the deadline carries no meaning. “We are not obliged to abide by the deadline set by the committee already declared illegitimate by the Supreme Court,” she said. 

Gokarna Bista, a Standing Committee member who is trying hard to unite two factions, said that the efforts to unify the party will continue till the last hour. “But Friday’s decision [of Chairman Oli] will, in no way, help in creating the environment of understanding for unity,” he added.

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