‘NC will be an effective opposition if I am elected’

  • Interview Sher Bahadur Deuba
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Mar 3, 2016-

The 13th General Convention of Nepali Congress (NC) is beginning on Thursday. Acting President Ram Chandra Poudel, senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba and General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula are in the race to secure the post of party president. Sujata Koirala also announced her candidacy for party president on Wednesday. Deuba is contesting for the party presidency for the third time. In this context, Kamal Dev Bhattarai of the Post spoke with Deuba. Excerpts:

What is your roadmap to resolve the current crisis being in the country if you are elected as Nepali Congress President? 

First, we need to identity the problems faced by country and party. The first amendment to constitution has addressed some of these issues. I am seriously working to address the remaining issues. 

Mainly, we need to address genuine issues related to demarcation of federal units in Madhes. There is a psychological division between hills and Madhes which needs to be bridged. There are some problems in the province number two. There is a psychology in the Madhes that hill dominates them. They think that ruling class is always from Pahadi region. They perceive themselves as second class citizen and we have responsibility of correcting that perception. The same issue should be dealt inside the party to make it united, strong, inclusive and diverse. 

What is your policy and programme for convention?

There will be an official policy and programme for the convention. As a presidential candidate, I will make some personal commitment highlighting my priority such as uniting party, consolidating democratic values, implementation of new constitution and ending factional politics within the party. 

What would be your role to bring Madhesi leaders into party’s decision-making level?

I adopted the principle of inclusion ensuring the reservation for marginalised communities in party’s structures when I was the president of Nepali Congress (Democratic). I arranged the reservation quotas for women, Janajati, indigenous and oppressed communities. Those principles have been institutionalised with the promulgation of new constitution. 

Even after the unification of two NC parties, I focused on making party organisation inclusive. I am fighting to establish these principles. Even other parties have followed the principles adopted by NC. We have the responsibility to keeping the party united which would help maintain unity and cooperation for building the nation. We have to build a system in the party about it which will be my priority as party president. 

Why your candidacy is different from others?

NC has always been fighting for democracy. However, the party has struggled to take timely decisions. We have to understand this aspect properly. In the name of consensus, we have failed to do what needs to be done. As a result, we have missed several opportunities, including appointing CEO of the Nepal Reconstruction Authority. 

After 21 years, NC’s leadership will fall outside the Koirala family, what is your take on this? 

It would be injustice if we say only Koirala family contributed for the party. We should not forget veteran party leaders late Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and Ganesh Man Singh. We have to review why Singh and Bhattarai, who made immense contribution, left the party.

We have to make party united instead of talking about certain family.Leaders should be groomed on the basis of capacity and performances not on the basis of family legacy. I am busy making plans to engage all the party leaders and cadres. We have to give responsibility to all party leaders and cadres. I do not believe in the legacy of family. 

Is there any possibility of consensus among presidential candidates? 

It is already too late. All top leaders want party leadership. I am fielding candidacy to make party united. I do not enjoy factional politics. However, I wish to be elected unopposed. My only purpose is making party united and taking it to a new height.

Youth leaders in the party are complaining that they have not received any opportunity to run for the key positions in the party, what is your opinion? 

The concern of youth is genuine. Youths should be gradually groomed in the party. I am also a leader who came from student politics. So I understand their concerns. The country is in the hands of youth, not only the party. 

Is there any possibility of change in the government?

We have to remain in opposition to strengthen the democracy. We need to take democratic values to the grass-roots level. In democracy, it is not good to have an all-party government. We will be an effective opposition party if I am elected as party president because I am a capable and tested leader. 

What would be your foreign policy if elected as party president? 

We have good relations with the neighbouring countries. We have the special relationship with India due to open border and other social and cultural factors. Of late, it seems that there are some misunderstanding with India which needs to be resolved through diplomatic efforts. We have a good relation with China as well. We can change friends but not neighbours.

Published: 03-03-2016 08:17

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