Power struggle in RPP raises spectre of split

- Post Report, Kathmandu
The dispute between Thapa and Rana came to public domain after the latter accused the chairman of running the party in an autocratic way

Jul 15, 2017-Internal feud in the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) has raised the spectre of split, less than six months after the unification of Kamal Thapa-led RPP-Nepal and Pashupati Shumsher Rana-led RPP.

Leaders fear a vertical split in the party if the disputes between senior leaders are not settled at the earliest.

The unified RPP was announced in November after top leaders of the two right wing forces decided to join hands, but Prakash Chandra Lohani, one of the influential leaders, quit the party four months later in March, accusing Chairman Thapa of turning the party into his private fiefdom.

Now, there is a power tussle between Thapa and Rana.

The dispute between Thapa and Rana came to public domain on Friday after the latter issued a statement accusing the chairman of running the party “in an autocratic way”, a charge that was earlier levelled by Lohani. Rana has taken exception to Thapa’s move of appointing 42 central committee members “without holding consultation” in the party.

 “If the chairman does not withdraw the decision, the party will head for a split; the onus to save the party is on him,” Rana said. But the Thapa faction has claimed that appointing central committee members is the party chairman’s prerogative.

As many as 10 lawmakers boycotted a Parliamentary Party meeting called by Chairman Thapa on Friday. These are the same lawmakers who had earlier stood against constitution amendment during the erstwhile government in which Thapa was deputy prime minister. They are said to be close to former king Gyanendra Shah. Speculations at that time were rife that the deposed king was trying to split the RPP.

With the internal feud rearing its ugly head in the RPP now, some leaders though refused to explicitly say anything, they did not rule out the possibility of Gyanendra’s hand in bringing a rift in the party.

The party currently stands divided on joining the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government as well. Thapa is for joining the government with deputy prime ministership for him and four other ministerial berths, equal to what Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar’s party has. But the faction led by Rana, Dipak Bohora, Sunil Thapa and Bikram Pandey is against joining the government.

During Friday’s PP meeting boycotted by the leaders of the Rana-Bohora faction, party Chairman Thapa is learnt to have said “all should respect the party’s decision”, in an indication that he would not backtrack.

“Let’s see what happens during the upcoming central working committee meeting,” said Mohan Shrestha, one of the party spokespersons. “The party chairman is trying to settle the dispute before the central working committee meeting. We have to start preparations for the third round of local polls and two other elections. No one should act against the party unity,” added Shrestha.

Published: 15-07-2017 08:00

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