Thursday, 28 September, 2023

NC top brass brace for race to top party post


By Ram Prasad Dahal
Kathmandu, Aug. 20: Amidst uncertainty over the scheduled 14th general convention of the Nepali Congress, a number of party leaders have shown their interest to grab the top post of party.
The NC general convention scheduled for February 19 to 22, 2021 in Kathmandu has become uncertain as the party has been unable to implement its calendar of distributing active membership and other activities.
NC chief secretary Krishna Prasad Paudel informed that the distribution of active membership was a tough task of general convention for which the party had set the deadline of mid-August, which has now expired.
Leaders along with party President Sher Bahadur Deuba, vice president Bimalendra Nidhi, general secretary Dr. Shashanka Koirala do not seem serious to implement the calendar and hold the general convention in time. They are just eying the post of party president.
Insiders say Deuba is preparing for the next term. But in a dramatic development within his faction, NC president Deuba got a punch from the leaders of his faction as vice-president Nidhi has been found lobbying for the post of party president. His team member senior leader Gopal Man Shrestha has also been claiming for the post stating that he was the senior most leader in the faction.
Nidhi has already started pitching for the top post. He proposed Deuba to refrain from his candidacy and support him. Nidhi also talked with senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel, general secretary Dr. Koirala, Prakash Man Singh and Dr. Shekhar Koirala seeking their support for his candidacy.
Nidhi has strong family base in NC politics. His father Mahendra Narayan Nidhi was

one of prominent leaders in the party.
However, Nidhi has not announced his candidacy publicly. "Let me talk with Deuba (Sher Bahadur Deuba) and I will speak about it," Nidhi told The Rising Nepal.
In the marathon for the post of president in NC, not only Deuba faction is facing a division; other rival factions, one led by senior leader Paudel and another led by Krishna Prasad Sitaula, too also facing the same problem.
While Paudel himself has been claiming the post of party chief from his faction, influential leaders Dr. Shekhar Koirala, Dr. Shashanka Koirala and Prakash Man Singh are also vying for the same. Sitaula claimed candidacy from his camp but young leader Gagan Thapa is also showing his interest. In the 13th convention, Sitaula contested for the post of president and Thapa for general secretary.
Four of the leaders vying for the top post have family background and legacy. Dr. Shashanka is son of NC founder leader BP Koirala while Dr. Shekhar is son of BP's elder brother Keshav Prasad Koirala. Both are in race from the same family as Koirala family has a strong hold in the NC and in the Nepali politics.
Dr. Shekhar said the NC president is not a post given by others but won through election. "I am confident that I will win the post and I am all ready to contest the election," he said.
Singh is the son of veteran leader Ganesh Man Singh.
One face after another coming to contest for NC president, the race in the grand old party is gradually becoming interesting for observers. Even though there are many aspirants for the NC top post, they don’t appear serious about holding the general convention in the slated date.
"The NC is a big party, many could file their candidacy for the party's top post. Leaders will give us direction after holding the Central Working Committee meeting. Let them join the election fray," said Paudel. The main reason behind a number of leaders aspiring for party president is their age. Most of aspirants are in their early or late 70s.
Due to main leaders’ attention to the party's top post, the issue of policy and internal democracy has fallen in shadow.