KATHMANDU, Feb 21: CPN-UML standing committee meeting, which was called on a short notice for Wednesday, has been postponed due to “busy schedule” of the top leaders.
The meeting was called after the party´s senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal arrived in Kathmandu after a weeklong visit to France and expressed strong objection to the party´s decision to go for a new government led by the sitting chief justice.
“The meeting scheduled for today [Wednesday] couldn´t be held due to leaders´ busy schedule. Chairman was scheduled to attend a meeting at the president´s office and interparty talks while other leaders had already planned to join other activities,” party Secretary Yubaraj Gyawali told Republica. “We have decided to hold the meeting at an appropriate time as and when needed as per the progress in interparty talks.”
UML earlier this week endorsed the proposal of a government headed by the sitting chief justice even as an overwhelming majority of its central committee members were against the idea. The standing committee was also divided on the issue.
Nepal on Tuesday held discussions with UML General Secretary Ishwar Pokhrel, Secretary Shankar Pokhrel and some other leaders, including Pradeep Gyawali and Agni Kharel, on the issue. During the talks, Nepal termed the party´s decision to go for a government led by sitting chief justice “wrong”.
According to a leader, the meeting was deferred as former Prime Minister Nepal on Wednesday was not as insistent as he was on Tuesday.
Though he is the head of the UML´s talks team entrusted with holding dialogues with other political parties on government formation, he didn´t join inter-party talks even after he arrived in Kathmandu.
According to party leaders close to Nepal, Chairman Jhalanath Khanal on Tuesday morning called up Nepal and requested him to join the interparty talks. In response, Nepal expressing reservations over the proposal of CJ-headed government said he wouldn´t join the talks.
With his arrival in Kathmandu, the dispute in the party over forming CJ-headed government has been revived.
While Nepal has publicly criticized the party leadership for accepting the proposal saying that the Maoist leaders floated the idea with a plan to drag the Supreme Court into controversy and taint the judiciary´s image.
But leaders of rival factions within the party have countered him saying that it was a “height of irresponsibility” on his part to stay in abroad and “spread propaganda against the party decision” immediately after arriving in Kathmandu.
“First of all he shouldn´t have left the country at such a crucial time because he is the head of the party´s talks team, or, should have cut his visit short. But he didn´t do so,” said a leader close to party chairman preferring anonymity. “He started criticizing the party´s decision through the media instead of consulting the party leaders.”
Also, a leader close to Nepal expressed dissatisfaction with Nepal for “overreacting" against the decision “without studying the ground realities”.
“I am in fact taken by surprise. He is a leader who led UML for 15 years as the party chief and became the prime minister. He should have first talked to the leaders and studied the matter,” said a leader close to Nepal. The leader said that it was not UML´s choice and that the party had to take this decision keeping in view special circumstances.
According to a leader, Nepal had sent an email to the party leadership while the central committee and standing committee meetings were under way, suggesting to the party to not accept the proposal to form CJ-headed government. The email was read out at the meetings of the central committee as well.