Congress braces for hostile top panel meet

  • Koirala-backed Poudel faction says draft statute favours Deuba camp
- SANJEEV GIRI, Kathmandu

Nov 29, 2018-

Leaders from the establishment as well as rival faction of Nepali Congress held separate meetings in Kathmandu on Wednesday, a day before the Central Working Committee begins discussion on the draft of party statute.

Leaders from both camps discussed contentious provisions in the party statute and dwelled on tactics to contain each other’s intentions.

Earlier this week, a committee led by NC General Secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka had submitted to the Central Working Committee the draft that included the differences of opinions among senior leaders.

The rival camp led by Ram Chandra Poudel, and backed by the Koirala family, points to a number of provisions in the draft statute that favour party President Sher Bahadur Deuba to help him consolidate more power.

On Wednesday, leaders like Prakash Sharan Mahat, Ramesh Lekhak and Bal Krishna Khand representing the establishment faction met at Deuba’s residence in Budanilkantha. Leaders from the rival faction gathered at the residence of General Secretary Shashank Koirala.

“There is no option to consensus among the CWC members for approving the amendment to the statute. Only a two-thirds majority can push the agenda to the Mahasamiti meet,” said Min Bahadur Bishwakarma, a prominent leader from the Deuba faction.

Deuba will try to include the views of many members and the rival faction’s demand of increasing the number of office-bearers would be heard positively, he said.

“The rival faction wants to increase the number. For this, they have pointed to the recent induction of Bijay Kumar Gachhadar as the party Vice President. Though that was done in special circumstances, the idea of giving space to senior leaders in the CWC is not bad,” Bishwakarma said.

The discussions on the draft statute would go on for at least three days to hear and incorporate views of all central committee members, he added.

The amendment to the party statute recommends increasing the number of central committee members to 141 from the current 85.

Even though the establishment faction stresses the need for broader consensus, the rival faction has intensified preparations to come down heavily on Deuba during the party meeting.

The presentation of the rival faction, according to one senior leader, would be based on the presentation of Deuba and company in the CWC where the latter enjoys a majority.

Apart from the number of office-bearers, issues like designation of rights to the party president to nominate 25 percent members and scrapping the provision of active membership retaining general membership would be the bone of contention.  

The draft statute proposes barring NC leaders from holding two positions concurrently.

A section of senior leaders is apprehensive about this proposal. Poudel and leaders like Minendra Rijal, Lekhak and Farmulha Mansur have registered different opinions on a number of issues.

“Anyone could be elected president at the upcoming general convention. So, the party statute should not be endorsed keeping one person at the centre,” Arjun Narsingh KC, a prominent leader from the rival faction told the Post.

“Party President Deuba should be open to democratic processes and seek maximum consensus in the party charter,” KC said.

They would not accept the suspension of active membership as suggested by the draft statute, he said.

“There would be strong retaliation to the proposed provision of nominating central members by the president. The crucial party position should be decided via elections,” KC said.

Published: 29-11-2018 08:07

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