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One year into unity, infighting and fissures disrupt the ruling party

PM Oli has been accused by his party members of limiting his leadership to a small faction, failing to govern efficiently, and displaying authoritarian tendencies.

Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, who returned Kathmandu on Thursday after wrapping up a long engagement in the United States and Costa Rica, was flooded with questions over growing dissatisfaction within the Nepal Communist Party, in a chaotic press conference at the airport that more or less sums up the current state within the ruling party.

Oli’s role as the party co-chairman and the prime minister has been increasingly questioned by senior party leaders, some of whom have accused him of limiting his leadership to a small faction, failing to govern efficiently, and displaying authoritarian tendencies.

 

One year after the unification announcement between two major leftist forces—CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist Centre)—and seven months after their merger, cracks have started appearing within the ruling unified communist party. The two major leftist forces had surprised many by announcing a broader electoral alliance on October 2 last year, just ahead of the provincial and federal elections.

Seven months later, the two parties merged formally creating a unified communist party, a development that was termed as historic by many political pundits.

Though the two parties took some time to establish the NCP, they worked in close collaboration ensuring a roaring election victory. The two parties, also known as the left alliance, had pitched stability for obtaining prosperity and development during the election campaign.

The idea resonated with the general public, earning the alliance a close to two-thirds majority in the federal and provincial election. The larger credit for party unification went to Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the Maoist leader, both of whom rose above the petty interest to materialise the merger.

While stability and unity were promoted as key for national development by NCP leaders, the lack of exact elements seems to be taking a toll over the ruling party and the Oli administration, affecting their functioning as well as efficiency. A number of NCP leaders has become vocal in recent months about the growing differences within the party and the weak performance of the two-thirds majority government.

Important party decisions are made at the meeting of nine-member central secretariat comprising of Oli and Dahal. Deliberation within the party has declined as the frequency of the 45-member Standing Committee meeting has reduced in recent months.

“It is true that the party, as well as the government, has failed to live up to expectations of the people in the several fronts because those expectations were high,” said Jhalak Subedi, an analyst and political commentator. “Stating that the party or the government has failed on its endeavours, however, would be wrong as it requires policy implementation and its consistency to logically analyze how a system or mechanism has fared in a long run. While Subedi was quick to point that things weren’t looking good, he said the government and the party still need more time to work on their differences.

 

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