FROM ISSUE #45 (01 JUNE 2001 - 07 JUNE 2001) | TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Fasten your seat belts, UML. It is now the main opposition's turn to feel the heat in a suspect aircraft leasing deal, this one with China Southwest Airlines. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has found another jet-leasing decision, under comrade Bhim Rawal, a former UML tourism minister, irregular, and possibly corrupt. And the UML leadership does not like the manner in which the PAC, headed by Subhas Chandra Nemwang, reached their conclusion. Its standing committee was the first to react, saying it was "surprised" by the decision. But that, in turn, surprised KP Oli, a member of the standing committee and the PAC. Days later, Oli said he felt the party should respect democratic norms and adhere to the decision, which was taken by him and other senior party members, among others. What this boils down to is the tussle between Oli and UML general secretary Madhav Nepal, which has been simmering since the 1998 convention that elected Nepal to power. Oli is said to have more popular support, but Nepal controls the party ranks and neither side lets slip a chance to get at the other. The UML has formed a party committee to investigate the charge against Rawal, known to be a Nepal yes-man, and Oli wants to make sure this is not a ploy to absolve the accused.