CPN-UML leaders have accused President Bidhya Devi Bhandari of promoting a faction inside the party.
Leaders opposed candidacy of Bhandari for the post of president during the standing committee meeting convened Tuesday night to pick the party’s presidential candidate stating that the secretariat of President Bhandari has continued to work for a faction inside the party, a UML leader told Setopati.
Vice-chairman Ashta Laxmi Shakya, deputy general secretary Ghanashyam Bhusal and secretary Yogesh Bhattarai opposed Bhandari’s candidacy making such accusations against her.
UML Chairman and Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli had started the meeting saying ‘Comrade JN (Jhalanath Khanal) has also showed interest in President. Current President has also wished to be repeated. Let’s discuss on that.’
Khanal then gave the reasons for his claim for the post of president.
Former PM Madhav Kumar Nepal also expressed dissatisfaction during the meeting stating that the party is not operating as per the system and processes have been violated. But he did not speak about the issue of presidential candidacy.
Vice-chairman Shakya opposed candidacy of President Bhandari stating that the secretariat of President Bhandari has been used to work for a faction inside the party. She had insisted on writing a note of dissent against the decision to repeat Bhandari as President till the eleventh hour.
Deputy general secretary Bhusal also criticized the leadership stating that the party was not operating in accordance to the system and processes, and accused the leadership of highhandedness. “I wanted to file candidacy for parliamentary party leader against chairman Oli. But I was not informed about the meeting of parliamentary party until the eleventh hour,” a leader present during the meeting quoted Bhusal as saying.
Bhusal claimed that no information about meeting of parliamentary party was provided during the standing committee meeting held a day before, and he was informed about the parliamentary party meeting scheduled for noon only at 11:45 am on the day.
“I wanted to contest for parliamentary party leader because I believed you will not contest the election for parliamentary party leader as you believe in the principle of one person, one post,” the leader quoted Bhusal as telling chairman Oli.
Bhusal also accused President Bhandari of using her secretariat to openly support a faction and work against another faction.
Secretary Bhattarai also opposed candidacy of Bhandari claiming she was involved in political maneuverings against the dignity of the President’s Office.
A UML leader informed that the meeting continued till midnight as all standing committee members spoke about the potential candidacy of Bhandari and Khanal and there was a long debate about operation of the party.
Chairman Oli stated that he is ready to mend his ways if there were any shortcomings in operation of the party, and assured to call a separate meeting to discuss and take decision on that.
Khanal withdrew his claim for president only toward the end of meeting. “I hope you will run the party in accordance to rule and system, and move forward by including everyone,” a leader quoted Khanal as telling chairman Oli.
The meeting decided to field Bhandari as presidential candidate after Khanal gave up his claim.