News Digest: Domestic Politics & Governance (July 22-28, 2021)

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Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP):

After Election Commission (EC)’s July 22 decision to recognize the Central Working Committee (CWC) presented to the EC at the time unification, JSP’s Yadav faction was sure to get the party’s legitimacy. In the EC’s headcount of the party’s CWC members on July 26, the Yadav faction got 34 and the Thakur faction got 16 votes out of 51. Resham Chaudhary abstained. Meanwhile, after the Yadav faction’s capture of the JSP, the Thakur faction was given an opportunity to register a new party.

The party’s CWC meeting, held after the EC’s verdict, decided to strip the positions of all 16 members of the Thakur faction, which now limits the party’s CWC to 34 members.

CPN-UML:

In a program organized in Lalitpur to commemorate the founding anniversary of CPN (Maoist) founder Pushpalal Shrestha, CPN (UML) Chairman KP Sharma and other parties members partake. Photo: RSS

In the Central Committee meeting, party chair KP Oli expressed his desire to continue reconciliation efforts until the end. Seeking clarification from 22 lawmakers about their involvement in the ‘anti-party’ alliance, Oli also offered to make Madhav Nepal the party’s second chairperson. The Central Committee meeting put Oli in charge of protecting party’s unity. However, Madhav Nepal was dismissive of Oli’s offer, whereas the 22 lawmakers were positive about submitting clarification.

In their clarification to Oli and the party, the 22 lawmakers claimed to have simply followed the Supreme Court’s order and the constitution. In his clarification, Madhav Nepal also maintained that his actions were to protect democracy and constitutionalism.

After the Oli faction revived the party’s ‘Youth Force,’ the Nepal faction also decided to revive the People’s Volunteer (PV), which was dissolved after the party’s eighth general convention. Party leader Yogesh Bhattarai opined that ‘violent’ party structures such as Youth Force and PV should be dissolved.  

On July 23, Bhim Rawal withdrew his resignation as a federal lawmaker from the CPN-UML.

On July 24, before the declaration of the group’s Valley Command, the Youth Force organized a power demonstration in Kathmandu. During the event, Mahesh Basnet warned that the group would light fire across the country if the government scrapped the political appointments made by the Oli government or introduced an ordinance to split the CPN-UML.

UML leaders, including the deputy parliamentary party leader Subas Nembang, continue to discredit Deuba’s appointment as the PM, calling it the court’s intervention instead of people’s mandate.

Speaking at a virtual program on July 25, Oli accused Madhav Nepal of being arrogant and expressed that he has little hope in Nepal’s return to the party. The party’s recent reconciliatory effort revolves around having two party chiefs

Nepali Congress:

Responding to the party leaders’ protest, PM and NC’s president Sher Bahadur Deuba has ordered the Active Membership Investigating Committee to conduct a fair investigation of the membership distribution. On July 27, The Committee submitted a list of active membership, solving the membership dispute in almost all districts, which has opened the door for the party’s general convention. 

The party’s ward convention, scheduled for July 27, was postponed until the dispute regarding active membership distribution is resolved.

CPN-Maoist Centre:

Maoist Centre chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal shared his frustration regarding the ambition of all 49 lawmakers to be a minister, while the party’s share of portfolio is only about 6-7 ministers.

Miscellaneous:

Bibeksheel Sajha Party’s chief Rabindra Mishra shared a proposal, calling for a referendum on secularism and scrapping federalism. However, Mishra’s proposal has stirred an intra-party scuffle, as the party’s coordinator Milan Pandey clarified that Mishra’s proposal was his personal stand, not the party’s official statement.

Governance

Sher Bahadur Deuba, as the new Prime Minister, is now responsible for managing foreign relations with India, China, and other neighbours, mitigating rivalries, and overseeing foreign policy. Furthermore, securing covid-19 vaccines would also be one of the tasks on his agenda.

On October 16 last year, the National Human Rights Commission had recommended action against five police officials for extrajudicial killing. However, sub-inspector Dipendra Chand was instead promoted.

On July 25, President Bidya Devi Bhandari appointed Umesh Shrestha, a Nepali Congress lawmaker, as per Article 76(9) as state minister for health. Deuba, on July 13, had appointed the following in the respective ministries: Bal Krishna Khand (home), Gyanendra Karki (law and parliamentary affairs), Pampha Bhusal (energy), Janardan Sharma (finance).

Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority wrote a letter to Pashupati Area Development Trust in early July to submit details of installing a golden jahalari in Pashupati citing possible irregularities in financial details of gold procurement and installation of the structure. Heritage activists and locals have welcomed the move from the CIAA.

More than 100 local governments have been defaulting on fiscal budget deadlines, and they can’t make new spendings until they present their budgets. The local governments were required to present their budgets for 2021-22 by June 24 (Asar 10) to municipal assemblies.

Biswo Poudel has been appointed as the vice chair of the National Planning Commission. Poudel was the ex-senior economist of the commission, and he was appointed after Pushpa Kandel resigned as vice chairman after KP Oli stepped down as prime minister.

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