Thursday, 13 June, 2024

NC must put its house in order


Nepali Congress (NC) leaders have been entangled in bitter factional infighting to grab top leadership from the upcoming 14th general convention of the party. Party president Sher Bahadur Deuba is determined to become president for the second time. And he is blamed for taking unilateral decision and breaching the party statute.
The Party Central Working Committee meeting took unilateral decisions on December 27, 2019, which widened conflict in the party. The NC rival factions, led by senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel and Krishna Prasad Sitaula, boycotted the meeting. It decided to extend the tenure of party’s committees from the centre to local level, for one month, hold the 14th general convention in February, 2021, form 47 departments and distribute active memberships.
“All these decisions, taken by Deuba, showed his intention to cling unto power and put his supporters in important positions,” said NC leader Hridayaram Thani close to Paudel faction. As Deuba pressed ahead with his decisions defying the rival factions’ demand, senior leader Paudel and general secretary Dr. Shashanka Koirala called the gathering of district presidents in Kathmandu to exert pressure on Deuba.
Unilateral decisions
A total of 47 district presidents assembled and asked party leadership to reverse CWC decisions, move the party on the basis of party statute and unite the party by taking all into confidence. The three-day meeting of presidents offered significant suggestions for the party unity. “It asked to withdraw the December 27 unilateral decisions and run party on the basis of statute and forge consensus in the party,” said NC Sindhupalchok chair Bikash Lama. “Three day meeting sought to bring Deuba on track.”
However, Deuba’s loyalist and central member N P Saud said Deuba was trying to bring all party leaders and workers on board but the dissenting leaders refused to listen to his request.
“We are the members of the same family; we can settle the issues by forging an understanding. Deuba is ready to do so,” he said. On the other hand, leader Paudel said he was encouraged by the decisions of the meeting of district presidents. “The party should correct its decisions and the date of the 14th general convention on the basis of consensus.”
Paudel accused Deuba of unilaterally taking decisions on the issue of active membership that violated the party statute. “We doubt the party’s 14th general convention will take place as per the calendar.” General Secretary Dr. Koirala said Deuba would probably withdraw the unilateral decisions.
Paudel, Koirala and Sitaula called on Deuba to withdraw the decision and forge consensus on matters. They warned of serious consequences if Deuba refused to withdraw the December 27 decisions. Meanwhile, NC joint general secretary Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat said Deuba was ready to withdraw decisions of the Central Working Committee meeting and asked rival factions to sit for the dialogue.
However, Deuba had not held talks to Paudel and Sitaula to sort out the dispute. Likewise, Deuba organised a lunch meeting for the district presidents at his residence at Budhanilkanth on Thursday. The presidents asked him to abide by the decisions.
It appears that Deuba has become weak and wants to backtrack from the decisions. NC Kavre president Madhu Acharya said if Deuba did not listen to them they would launch another campaign. Disputes in the NC are not new. They have been roiling the party since the time of BP Koirala, Subarna SJB Rana, Ganesh Man Singh, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and Girija Prasad Koirala. Now, the party has been divided from top to the grassroots, compounding the internal strife.
Constructive role
The NC wrangling has gripped the party at a time when it has become the weakest. The party has run the gauntlet for not playing an effective role in the parliament. Various Bills presented in the House of Representatives has come into controversies and opposition NC needs to work to improve them so that consensus is created in the parliament. The grand old party must concentrate it on performing constructive role in the House instead of spending its energy in the intra-party bickering. For this, it must put its house in order so that it will be able to live up to the public expectations.
- Dahal is a TRN Journalist