Kathmandu: The ruling Nepal Communist Party on Tuesday appeared to be headed for a split after the warring factions held separate central committee meetings, with Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli announcing a new 1,199-member committee to organise the party's general convention in an effort to strengthen his hold on it.
Oli, who is also one of the two chairmen of the ruling party, announced the new committee during a meeting of the party's central committee members close to him at Baluwatar, the prime minister's official residence, the Kathmandu Post reported.
The members of the newly-formed general convention organising committee took oaths in the presence of the prime minister.
The meeting also decided to remove Naryan Kaji Shrestha as the party spokesperson.
Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali, a standing committee member, was appointed as the new spokesperson of the party, said Binod Shrestha, a central committee member.
Nepal on Sunday plunged into a political crisis after Oli got the President to dissolve Parliament, a controversial move amidst a prolonged tussle for power between him and former premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ within the ruling dispensation.
Oli’s latest move is aimed at achieving a majority in the central committee, My Republica reported.
The newly-formed committee adds 556 members to the existing 446-member central committee of the ruling party.
Addressing the central committee members of his faction, Oli said that it would not make any difference to the party if some leaders quit.
In the meeting, Oli also proposed to hold the party’s general convention on November 18-23 in Kathmandu next year. Earlier the party’s convention was scheduled from April 7 to 12, 2021.
Oli's decision to announce the new committee comes at a time when rival factions of the ruling party are preparing to make formal announcements for a party split.
The rival faction led by Prachanda also held a separate central committee meeting in Kathmandu.
Former prime ministers Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal and former agriculture minister Ghanashyam Bhushal were among the senior leaders who attended the central committee meeting of Prachanda-led faction.
Nearly two-thirds of the 446 members of the central committee of the party were present in the Prachanda led faction’s meeting.
However, a formal split of the party is yet to be announced.
Both factions of the party have intensified efforts to retain official party recognition along with the election symbol. The two factions are now busy making strategies to wrest control of the party.
On Monday, the Prachanda-led faction informed the Election Commission of the party’s standing committee’s decision to take action against chairperson Oli for breaching party discipline.
Oli has defended his move to abruptly dissolve Parliament, saying he was forced to seek a fresh mandate through elections as the rift within the ruling Nepal Communist Party severely affected his government's functioning.