Dahal demands party reins for him and speaker’s seat for his side, but Oli is not ready

Pushpa Kamal Dahal (L) and KP Sharma Oli

Kathmandu, November 19

Though the Nepal Communist Party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal denied blocking Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s plan to reshuffle his Cabinet, sources privy to recent discussions say the reshuffle was deferred owing to the differences between the two leaders over some crucial issues.

The sources say there are three issues that the two leaders discussed on Monday, but could not agree on: a) the Cabinet reshuffle; b) the party’s pick for the next House of Representatives speaker; and c) the party leadership.

On the reshuffle, Dahal suggested that Oli remove as many ministers as possible and recruit the new ones so that the public would think the government was heading to some significant reforms. However, Oli is thinking of removing around five non-performing ministers only.

After Oli did not agree on the proposal, Dahal introduced the topics of party leadership and speaker’s elections during the Monday meeting. “Dahal demanded that he be given the position of executive chairman, but Oli has not said ‘yes’ yet,” a source says, “Though Dahal was earlier interested in splitting the premiership between the two for 2.5 years each, he wants to lead the party instead of premiership now.”

Dahal also demanded that the former Maoist Centre side get the speaker’s position vacant after the resignation of Krishna Bahadur Mahara as the position was given to the side in the past also. “But, the prime minister wants to repeat Subas Nembang as the speaker,” the source says.

It is unlikely that the two leaders will meet today as Dahal is outside Kathmandu.

“If they talk and agree on these issues tomorrow, the reshuffle can take place,” a leader close to Dahal says, “Otherwise, it will be put off further.”

Meanwhile, another leader claims, “The two leaders are in an intense discussion. There is no misunderstanding as claimed outside.”

Published on November 19th, Tuesday, 2019 2:05 PM

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