The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has successfully resolved its internal dispute much to the respite of its cadres as well as common people. The long-running quarrel has sent negative message to the general masses who are struggling against the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing livelihood crisis caused by the lockdown and prohibitory orders imposed to contain the virus spread. The government has strained every nerve to combat the coronavirus and its economic fallout but unnecessary wrangling inside the party had hampered Prime Minister and chairman KP Sharma Oli to fully mobilise the party to defeat the virus and revive the battered economy. Following a series of talks with his co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, the chairmen duo had prepared a 15-point proposal to sort out all outstanding issues pestering the party for the last four months. It was based on the report submitted by the six-member taskforce formed earlier to settle the intra-party rift.
On Friday, the Standing Committee meeting endorsed it unanimously. The joint report, considered as the roadmap to bolster the party unity and give momentum to the government’s performance, has formally fixed the work division between the two chairmen. When the NCP was created with the merger of erstwhile CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre two years ago, it had envisioned two chairs, an experiment that is unique in Nepal’s political domain. The provision of two pilots had facilitated to address the leadership adjustment in the unified party. Since it was a new concept, there remained ambiguities to practice it. As a result, it also caused misunderstanding in handling the party organisation and defining its role in the government.
The SC meeting has outlined the role and responsibility of two chairs. As per the decision, PM Oli will run the government independently while Prachanda will lead the party as its executive head. The party will not interfere in the government’s activities of unnecessarily but the government is obliged to consult the party on the matters of national concern. For example, it should solicit the views of the members of party secretariat on the government’s policy and programme and important Bills before they are presented to the federal parliament. Settling the party-government conflict is very important because deepening dispute between the two organs slows down the development speed and weakens the popular base of both. In Nepal, this type of conflict has led to the split of party and downfall of government, pushing the country towards chronic political instability. The SC also announced to hold the party general convention in Kathmandu from April 6-12 next year. The central working committee meeting, scheduled to be held from October 31 to November 2, will carry out preparations of the unity convention, which is expected to add new impetus to the party with 800,000 members. The leaders’ commitment to operating the party as per the established guidelines and norms is the key to democratise and institutionalise it. The party has won sweeping mandate to achieve rapid economic development and consolidate the federal system. After keeping the party unity intact, its leaders should now mobilise its vast organisation against the pandemic that has crippled normal life and national economy. The party can enhance its legitimacy only when it devotes to the services of masses that sent its representatives to the government.