NC Mahasamiti meet: Leaders lash out at communist-led government

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu
Former vice-president Singh says the Mahasamiti meeting is a good opportunity for the party to correct its mistakes

Dec 16, 2018-At the 12th Mahasamiti meeting of the Nepali Congress that kicked off here on Saturday, leaders came heavily against the communist-led government while promising to reunite the party that has been marred by factional feud.

Due to the rivalry between President Sher Bahadur Deuba and senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel, the oldest party has yet to find consensus on party charter amendment even as top leaders vow to come up with a common draft. Negotiations began after formal inaugural of the meeting attended by around 1,600 members coming from across the country.

The major bone of contention is the number of office bearers, which the party leadership is trying to increase from the current six to 11 in the new set-up. The model to elect the provincial committees has yet to be agreed to while the membership row remains unsettled.

At the inaugural ceremony, almost all the Congress leaders criticised the KP Sharma Oli-led government and vowed without clarity to unify the Congress leadership.

Inaugurating the jamboree, Deuba appealed to the party leaders and cadres to expose the wrongdoings of the government. “Don’t spend your time only criticising me, do criticise the Oli government too,” said Deuba. “You’re free to criticise me because it is a democratic party. But at least oppose the Oli government as much as Madhav Kumar Nepal is doing.”

Nepal is a senior leader of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) who maintains a faction opposite Oli’s.

Deuba remarked that the regime had demonstrated its authoritarian tilt in its 10 months in office. The government has not taken any steps to amend the constitution, improve the law and order situation and to check the incidents of murder, rape and abduction, he charged.

Forget about punishing the murderers of Kanchanpur teenager Nirmala Pant, said Deuba, the government is busy removing posters pasted by activists demanding justice for her. “The government is trying to protect the rapist and killer of Nirmala,” Deuba said in his prepared speech.

“That the government has failed to share rights, powers and resources with the provincial governments means it is trying to sabotage federalism. Inflation is rising and the government is muzzling the media.”

Senior leader Poudel said that the Oli government had deceived the people. This government cannot deliver prosperity, he added.

“The government is focused on creating a new class in society. The entire focus of the government is on exploiting the state coffers and distributing wealth to party cadres,” said Poudel.

On intra-party rift, he said: “We must be united and leaders should contribute from their respective positions.”

General Secretary Shashank Koirala said the Mahasamiti would assess the party’s electoral defeat last year. He said he would do what was required of him to strengthen the party.

Criticising the government, Koirala said: “The Oli government has no idea how to run the administration. For prosperity, there should be a government of the Nepali Congress.”

“Development and prosperity are being defeated since we lost the elections,” the second-in-command remarked.

Joint General Secretary Prakash Sharan Mahat urged an end to enmity between party members. “If we overcome enmity, we’ll win election. We have to stop criticising ourselves,” he said.

“We have to learn from the communists how to publicise the government’s good deeds.”

Mahat credited the late party leader Sushil Koirala with delivering the constitution and Deuba with holding the elections successfully last year.

Former Congress vice-president Prakash Man Singh said the Mahasamiti meeting was a good opportunity for the party to correct its mistakes. Former general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula remarked that the government had been losing its strength.

Despite commanding a two-thirds majority in Parliament, the government was becoming unpopular day by day as it was working only in the interest of some ruling leaders, Sitaula observed.

“Petty interest groups are running the government and the government is working at their behest,” said Sitaula. “I’d never seen a government getting so weak and unpopular within one year.”

He asked the Mahasamiti members to speak their mind as that would give party leaders an opportunity to improve their working style.

Hailing the late Girija Prasad Koirala as a visionary leader, Ram Sharan Mahat said: “We took good initiatives but as the opposition party, we hold the weakest position in history. We should overcome nepotism and self-centeredness and should correct past mistakes to emerge strong.”

“People are fed up with the Oli government. The Mahasamiti meeting should chart out a strategy so that people can trust the Nepali Congress,” Mahat added.

Published: 16-12-2018 07:20

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