News Digest – Politics & Governance (March 25-31, 2021)

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Politics & Development

The Communist Party of Nepal–Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN–UML): The four CPN–UML leaders, Madhav Nepal, Bhim Rawal, Ghana Shyam Bhusal, and Surendra Pandey, decided to send a response letter questioning the legality of the justification asked with them. The Khanal-Nepal faction of the CPN–UML called a central committee meeting for March 26 to prepare the letter. The meeting also decided that the faction will fight PM Oli form within the party and that the leaders would attend the parliamentary party meeting called by Oli.

In the response letter, the leaders accused PM Oli of going against the party statute and processes and trying to divide the party; the counter questions and accusation have further worsened the intra-party struggle.

In the parliamentary meeting called by PM Oli on March 26, all leaders of the Khanal-Nepal faction, except Nepal and Bhim Rawal, decided to attend.

Dissatisfied with their responses, on March 29, PM Oli suspended leaders Madhav Nepal and Bhim Rawal from CPN–UML’s general membership for six years. Meanwhile, PM Oli asked further clarification from leaders Ghana Shyam Bhusal and Surendra Pandey, citing that they did not address the questions asked in the letter before. Leader Pandey clarified that only an end to factional meetings and unilateral decisions can save the party unity. The two leaders—Pandey and Bhusal—also said that the accusations were all baseless.

Reacting to PM Oli’s move to suspend him, leader Nepal said that such an action from Oli holds no meaning, as he is not the rightful and legitimate party chief anymore.

Issuing a joint statement on March 30, leaders Khanal and Nepal accused PM Oli of conspiring to end the Communist movement overall.

On March 30, PM Oli issued a party directive requesting all to play their roles in expanding, strengthening, and improving the party without being involved in factional politics.

The Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal (JSPN): Dr. Baburam Bhattarai accused the opposition Nepali Congress of delaying to bid a farewell to PM Oli.

With PM Oli’s positive signal on addressing JSPN’s demands, the party appears set to join the Oli government despite internal disagreements. On March 29, the government formed a dialogue team, under Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa’s coordination, to address the party’s demands, which includes Resham Chaudhary’s release.

The government’s team started official dialogues with the Tharu Welfare Society on March 30. The JSPN was sidelined in the meeting. The talk about the Society’s 19-point demands was deemed positive after the meeting on March 30.

Communist Party of Nepal–Maoist Centre (CPN–MC): CPN–MC chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal filed a petition at the Supreme Court, asking it to review the March 7 decision that split the Nepal Communist Party (NCP). PM Oli reacted in his usual witty manner saying it is not the court’s role to unite parties.

Analysist argue that the leaders’ inability to solve disputes politically is giving room for non-political actors to intervene in national politics, which is not good for the country’s democracy.

Dahal urged NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba to give a clear decision about power sharing possibilities.

Miscellaneous: On March 27, Speaker Agni Sapkota met PM Oli discuss about how the parliament can be made more effective.

In the Baluwatar land scam case, the Supreme Court sought cabinet decisions made during the reign of Madhav Nepal and Dr. Baburam Bhattarai as the prime ministers.

Governance & Corruption

Panels of the reinstated House of Representatives have not been providing proper service as they are holding zero hour session meetings. Analysts say that the KP Oli government wants to reduce the importance of the lower house.

Nabindra Raj Joshi, congress leader and former industry minister, died of brain hemorrhage at age 52. He was admitted to Norvic Hospital on February 26.

The Tharuwan/Tharuhat Rashtriya Morcha is protesting for Tikapur incident prisoners to be released and cases filed against them to be withdrawn. The group said that their movement will go on until their demands are met.

Public Service Commission office bearers have retired. An ordinance on Council is being challenged in court. This bill is stuck in the House. In such a situation, creating new appointments is not possible and hence, state agency recruitments are adversely affected.

As COVID-19 cases are increasing, the government’s plan to collect details from 4.45 million people in order to create National Identification Cards has been stalled. The government admitted that this target may only be met by half by the end of the current fiscal year.

A team has been formed in order to discuss demands made by the Tharuwan/Tharuhat Rashtriya Morcha. Their demands include Resham Chaudhary to be released from custody. The state had convicted Chaudhary for carrying out the Tikapur incident in 2015.

Madhav Nepal and Baburam Bhattarai are among the people not convicted for corruption against 175 individuals in the Lalita Niwas land grab scam. The court has asked for copies of the decisions made by the Cabinet during Nepal and Bhattarai’s term.

Pushpa Kamal Dahal has filed a petition to review the March 7 decision to revive Maoist Centre and UML.

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