Out in the open, Oli fires at oppn

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Out in the open, Oli fires at oppn

Jun 9, 2014-

Out in the open, Oli fires at oppn

n      POST Photo:

POST REPORT

KATHMANDU, JUNE 9

Three weeks before the ninth general convention, CPN-UML's chairman hopeful KP Sharma Oli has called for a change of guard charging that the party has lost its vitality to factionalism.

Addressing a gathering of his supporters in the Capital on Monday, the senior UML leader lamented that several sister organisations of the party had been lacklustre in their approach. “Half the party is mired in factionalism,” he told a packed house of supporters. Presenting his case as the future party chairman, Oli said he plans to take UML to a new height by following the “right course”. But he did not elaborate.

Addressing a public gathering for the first time after returning from Bangkok where he underwent kidney treatment, Oli hit out at his opponents who have been questioning his bid for chairmanship citing his poor health. The Madhav Kumar Nepal faction has attacked Oli on health grounds. “We are not enemies. In fact, we have struggled together. Why such treatment?” Oli rued.

All the speakers in the programme criticised Nepal for seeking another term as the party chief. Nepal served as the general secretary--the executive head--since 1993, after the death of Madan Bhandari in a road accident.

Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam appealed to all to defeat Nepal arguing that despite calls to support Oli, Nepal was adamant on his belief that the party will collapse if Oli gets to its top.

Secretaries Shanker Pokharel and Bishnu Poudel along with General Secretary Ishwor Pokharel criticised Nepal's bid for chairmanship despite leading the UML for more than 15 years.

In the run up to the convention, both Nepal and Oli factions have been holding separate gatherings where they lambaste each other. Both sides are also preparing their respective panel wherein Oli is likely to field Ishwor Pokharel as general secretary and Shanker Pokharel, Bishnu Poudel, Pradeep Gyawali, Prithivi Subba Gurung and Raghubir Mahaseth/Dharma Nath Sah as secretaries. Similarly, Gautam is likely to be fielded as senior vice-chairman, a post that does not exist. The party is deliberating on changing the by-laws to create the post.

Gautam, a long term of ally of Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, backed Oli during the Parliamentary Party leader election to defeat Khanal. Having backed Khanal in the eighth general convention, Ishwor Pokharel too has joined the Oli camp.

As for Nepal, who enjoys the support of a group of youth leaders considered close to Khanal, has difficult choices to make. Nepal wants to field Bhim Rawal, his close confidant, as the general secretary. But Surendra Pandey, close to Khanal, also eyes the post. Nepal plans to field Astha Laxmi Shakya and Yuvaraj Gyawali as vice-chairpersons. Nepal has already announced his bid for the top post.

Published: 10-06-2014 09:47

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