The ruling Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist-Leninist (CPN-UML), the largest party in the dissolved House of Representatives (HoR), has undergone ups and downs in its organisational life. The UML is reeling from prolonged internal dispute. The protracted bickering has drawn national attention because it is related to the writs filed at the Supreme Court (SC), seeking the reinstatement of the Lower House. Altogether 23 UML lawmakers have put their signatures on the petitions demanding that opposition leader and Nepali Congress (NC) Sher Bahadur Deuba be appointed the new prime minister. The UML establishment camp has slammed the rebel lawmakers and given them ultimatum to withdraw their signatures by 5pm Monday. At the party’s 13th Central Committee meeting that concluded Saturday, chairman and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has made it clear that they would no longer be the UML members if they failed to withdraw their signatures.
However, the lawmakers who have shown allegiance to the Nepal-Khanal faction are digging in their heels and refused to obey the party’s instruction. They argue that their move was based on the freedom granted by the constitution. The disgruntled faction has demanded that the party should return to its status prior to Jestha 2, 2075 BS based on the mandate of 9th convention and the SC verdict issued in March. Respecting the SC ruling, central committee meeting decided to scrap the 10th general convention organising committee and activate its committees from the centre to the ward level as per the 9th convention. However, they have been dissatisfied with the decision of nominating the former Maoist leaders in the Standing Committee and Central Committee. So they stuck to their guns despite the establishment side’s repeated request to join the meeting.
Prime Minister Oli and leader Nepal also had telephone conversation to end the impasse but all efforts did not succeed much to the chagrin of the rank and file. Amidst the ongoing internal dispute, the central committee meeting decided to convene the party statute convention from August 9 to 11 this year as per the five-point party organisational proposal submitted by the party general secretary Ishwar Pokhrel. According to the news report carried by this daily, it also decided to renew the party membership by mid-July and the details of the party membership should be submitted to the centre by July 20. The party’s ward and municipal level conventions will also be held on August 21 and August 31 respectively. In a similar manner, the party committees, leaders and workers have been instructed to gear for the upcoming mid-term polls slated for November this year.
In parliamentary democracy, the party decisions are the key to enforce discipline and strengthen the party system. The party members are obliged to abide by the decisions, policies and instructions of the party. The lawmakers can’t violate the whip of the party. If they defy the party’s decisions and whip, this will give rise to anarchy and eventually weaken the party based system. While the party members have to follow its decisions, the leadership has the onus in taking dissenters into confidence. Intra-party conflict needs to be sorted out through constructive debates and democratic consultations. The leadership should promote inner-party democracy that largely facilitate in finding the credible solution to dispute no matter how formidable it is. The democratic centralism is the viable method to resolve the substantive differences within the party and maintain sound relations between the party’s executive and legislative wings.