US Ambassador to Nepal Randy Berry on Monday met Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, the chairperson of the splinter faction of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), to discuss the priorities of the new Biden administration, including strengthening of democracies and combating climate change.

The meeting between Prachanda and Berry at the time of a major political crisis in Nepal is being regarded here as significant.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and former Premier Prachanda are currently engaged in a tussle for power within the NCP.

During the meeting, the US Ambassador discussed the new US presidential administration’s priorities with Prachanda.

“In my series of meetings to discuss the new US presidential administration’s priorities, I met with @cmprachanda,” Berry tweeted after the meeting.

“I reiterated the US commitment to strengthening democracies, combating climate change, and uplifting women and girl’s rights around the world,” Berry said.

Earlier on January 22, Ambassador Berry called on Prime Minister Oli to share priorities set by the new Biden administration.

The meeting comes at a time when the Himalayan nation is facing political turmoil following a rift in the ruling NCP.

Nepal plunged into a political crisis on December 20 after Prime Minister Oli in a surprise move dissolved Parliament, amidst serious differences with Prachanda.

His move to dissolve the 275-member House of Representatives sparked protests from a large section of the NCP led by Prachanda, also a co-chair of the ruling party.

Oli, who is the chairperson of a faction of the NCP, has said he was forced to dissolve the House after knowing that the Prachanda-led faction was planning to file a no-confidence motion against him and introduce an impeachment motion against President Bidya Devi Bhandari.

Oli was expelled from the primary membership of the Nepal Communist Party by the splinter faction led by ‘Prachanda’ on Sunday for alleged anti-party activities, further intensifying the infighting within the ruling party.

After a vertical split in the ruling party following the dissolution of the House, both the factions, one led by Oli and another led by Prachanda, have submitted separate applications at the Election Commission claiming that their faction is the genuine party and asked to provide them the election symbol of the party. However, the Election Commission is yet to decide the matter. – PTI