Kathmandu, March 29.
CPN-UML Chairman and Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli has suspended Madhav Kumar Nepal and Bhim Rawal.

Pointing that the explanation letters sent by the two were not satisfactory, Oli has suspended them from all party responsibilities including party membership for six months, as per Article 49(b) of the party’s statute.

Oli has issued a letter stating that the two leaders have been punished for anti-party activities. He, however, has added that the suspension can be lifted earlier if the leaders were to correct themselves.

Nepal, meanwhile, has argued that Oli does not have the rights to suspend him. “I have no information about Oli removing me. From which party? Oli’s party?” he quipped when asked for his response. “He does not have any authority to suspend from UML. He’s not UML chairman.”

He insisted that Oli is no longer the elected UML chairman that he was and is a mere faction leader. “A faction chairman cannot exercise the party authorities. There is, therefore, no meaning of this action or suspension.”

Talking about the explanation letters sent by the two during the parliamentary party meeting at Baluwatar on Friday, Oli had called the explanation punishable. “Explanations of the then Senior Leader Madhav Nepal and Vice-chairman Bhim Rawal have arrived. PM feels explanations of Nepal and Rawal are punishable. He said additional decision on that will be taken through the central committee,” UML Chief Whip Bishal Bhattarai had said after the meeting.

“These are the words PM said. The received explanations are negative and deserve action. PM said he expects that explanations of the remaining two will not come from that angle and be of type that helps to keep the party together,” he revealed Oli’s remarks in the meeting.

Oli had also told the meeting that the decisions taken on March 12 will not be taken back.

Oli held a central committee meeting on March 12 where UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli unilaterally took away responsibilities of leaders of the Khanal-Nepal faction and inducted Maoist leaders as central committee members.

The parliamentary party meeting was the first meeting held after ruling UML made parliamentary party leader more powerful granting discretionary powers to suspend party lawmaker any time.

The parliamentary party statute endorsed by the parliamentary party and central committee meetings has given the parliamentary party leader powers to immediately suspend any lawmaker for up to six months if the leader feels that the party or parliamentary party may suffer a big damage if regular process is followed for taking action.

Such action, however, will have to be submitted for endorsement in the first meeting of parliamentary party or parliamentary board whichever is held earlier.

The new provision in the statute has made Chairman and Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli much more powerful. He has comfortable majority in the parliamentary party and can take action against any lawmaker who criticizes him or take a stand against him.

The statute has also granted the parliamentary party leader powers to remove difficulties/obstacles should any arise in course of implementing the statute. The decision taken exercising the provision will have the standing of any provision in the statute.