Feud in UML festers as youths drift apart

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Feud in UML festers as youths drift apart

Mar 21, 2015-

Behind the veil of “cosmetic unity”, factional feud is festering in the ruling CPN-UML as the party leadership has failed for months to allocate responsibilities to central leaders.

Two factions led by Chairman KP Sharma Oli and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal have been trying for nine months to install their loyals in key positions such as the heads of organisations, and publicity and publication departments. Oli had narrowly edged out Nepal at the party’s ninth general convention in July last year.

Leaders say the party’s organisational activities have been affected by the failure to appoint leaders in charge of zones and districts. Each faction blames the other for the delay in appointments.

“Disputes over statute provisions and selection of politburo members delayed the work division,” said Secretary Prithivi Subba Gurung, who is close to Oli. He blamed “non-cooperation” from the Nepal faction for the inaction.

Team Nepal refutes the charge. “It’s the chairman’s responsibility to come up an amicable proposal and mobilise the party. We have yet to receive such a proposal,” said Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai, an aide to Nepal.

Oli has proposed Secretary Gurung to head the party’s Organisational Department while the Nepal faction wants the powerful position in its fold. The faction also lays claim to the leadership of the Publicity and Publication Department.

Differences are clearly visible in the sister wings as well. On Saturday, there were parallel gatherings of the Youth Association Nepal (YAN), attended by supporters of the two leaders. Nepal supporters held their national gathering in Kathmandu while the youth leaders in the Oli camp met in Hetauda.

Party Vice-chairpersons Bidhya Bhandari and Bam Dev Gautam and General Secretary Ishwor Pokharel were among the top leaders to address the meet in Hetauda. The gatherings were organised despite calls for unity by the party’s Central Disciplinary Commission and youth wing In-charge Sher Bahadur Tamang.

The UML youth wing got embroiled in a factional war after Niru Pal was appointed its chairperson. Pal, who is an Oli supporter, got the YAN’s top post after the incumbent Mahesh Basnet was appointed a minister. Displeased at her replacement, the Nepal faction of YAN announced a parallel committee.

The factions have differences also over giving a way out to the stalled constitution writing process. While the party establishment is hell bent on promulgating the new constitution through a vote in the Constituent Assembly, the Nepal faction wants consensus among the major parties on the disputed agendas.

“CA proceedings will begin soon. The constitution will be promulgated through majority votes if consensus is not built,” Pokharel told the gathering in Hetauda.

Nepal, who facilitated peace talks between the then CPN-Maoist and Seven Party Alliance before the 2006 People’s Movement, stresses that the new national charter should be promulgated through consensus.

The Nepal faction feels sidelined in cross-party talks while Oli, who was relatively less involved in past agreements, prevails as the party chief. “The party chairman is not holding enough dialogue on constitution writing. Despite that, we are reaching out to other parties for timely promulgation of the statute,” said Secretary Bhattarai.

The main opposition UCPN (Maoist) has asked Nepal to take a lead in search for consensus after Oli’s hardened position fuelled political polarisation.

Published: 22-03-2015 07:51

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