The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) is gearing up for the 14th general convention scheduled to be held in Kathmandu from December 10. The country’s oldest democratic party is going to elect its leadership for the next four years. The NC that has already chosen its leadership at the local level also held elections for the Province Committee in six provinces on Saturday. In most provinces, camps led by president and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel and leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula, fielded their separate candidates. However, PM Deuba and Sitaula had joint candidates in some provinces. But the Province Committee poll in Province 2 has been postponed for the time being as candidates failed to register their nomination owing to internal disputes. The Province Committee would elect one president, two vice-presidents, two general secretaries and three joint general secretaries. But the size of the Province Committee is not the same in all provinces.
With local, provincial and federal elections nearing, the party’s forthcoming general convention holds much significance for the party and the nation. The convention is expected to give fresh impetus to the party. The entire rank and file of the party has been taking part in the convention with much enthusiasm and vigour across the country. It may be recalled here that the party’s performance in the first three-tier elections held in 2017 was not satisfactory. Many of its influential leaders, including Ram Chandra Poudel, had to face a humiliating loss in the elections. And the party was forced to play its role as an opposition force in provincial assemblies as well as the federal parliament. Even in the local governments, its presence has been insignificant. The CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre that had forged an election alliance before getting unified had been able to sweep the three-tier elections.
As the federal parliament was restored by the Supreme Court’s historic verdict in July, the government, headed by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, collapsed and the present coalition government was formed under the leadership of Deuba. In line with the apex court’s decision, the federal parliament is set to run its full term of five years as the verdict called Oli’s move to dissolve the House of Representatives twice within the span of six months as unconstitutional. Therefore, the incumbent government will have the responsibility to hold the upcoming three-tier elections.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Deuba has directed his party’s functionaries to focus on local, provincial and federal elections by taking the intra-party election just as a democratic exercise. Opening the NC Province 1 committee’s first general convention virtually on Friday, Deuba called on his party’s leaders and workers to prepare for local, provincial and federal elections as the local-level election would be held within months and provincial and federal elections within a year. He also urged them to restore people’s faith in the party. He hoped the NC’s provincial general convention would reinforce the party, stating that his party was capable enough to lead the country towards political stability, development and prosperity. As a democratic party, the NC has an important part to play in protecting the constitution and democracy.