Congress rival factions in bid to form united force to challenge Deuba

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Mar 7, 2019-

Two rival factions of the Nepali Congress have ganged up against party President Sher Bahadur Deuba to put pressure on him to correct the recently amended party charter and redress the disputed issues at the earliest.

Leaders from the Ram Chandra Poudel faction and the Krishna Prasad Sitaula faction held a series of meetings on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the residence of party leader Prakash Man Singh in the Capital to chart out a common strategy to challenge Deuba.

NC Secretary General Dr Sashanka Koirala, Dr Shekhar Koirala, Arjun Nar Singh KC, Ram Sharan Mahat, Minendra Rijal, among other leaders, were present in the meeting held at Singh’s residence on Wednesday.

The meeting concluded that all disputed issues should be sorted out before convening the next meeting of the Central Working Committee. The leaders also agreed not to take part in any meeting called by Deuba if their concerns are not addressed.

Deuba, meanwhile, is not in a mood to entertain the opposing voices within his party. He is scheduled to take a six-day trip to several districts outside Kathmandu from Friday.

The NC has been embroiled in intra-party feud since the party suffered a heavy electoral loss in the 2017 local and general elections. The dispute only deepened when a recent CWC meeting of the party endorsed a new party charter ignoring the suggestions of the party’s Mahasamiti, the highest policy making body.  

Going against the Mahasamiti’s suggestion of picking all general convention representatives through election at the grassroots level, the CWC passed the charter with the provision of sitting CWC members automatically becoming the general convention representatives.

NC CWC member Pradip Poudel said some of the disputes emerged after the Mahasamiti meeting held in December 2018.

Besides the procedure of electing general convention representatives, Deuba’s leadership is also grappling with the problems in the party’s student body, Nepal Student Union. The union, which is currently without its president, has been putting pressure on the party leadership to create a conducive environment to hold its general convention.

Deuba is also feeling the heat from the party’s district-level presidents. As many as 56 district presidents have questioned Deuba’s leadership for taking important party decisions without consulting with other leaders in the party. They have warned of organising a special general convention if Deuba fails to correct the new party charter.

CWC member Pradip Poudel on Wednesday told the Post,“Both senior leaders Poudel and Sitaula briefed us about their communication with President Deuba to defuse the tension in today’s meeting, but no immediate solution has found yet.”

In Wednesday’s meeting, the leaders were of the view that every party decision should be taken through consensus, and not by the majority vote as Deuba had done when he passed the new charter through the CWC meeting.

The leaders have accused Deuba of going against the spirit of the party charter and dishonouring the popular voice of the party cadres.

“At a time when we should be standing as a collective force to counter the communist government, Deuba’s decisions have created fissures within the party,” senior leader Poudel said.

Poudel and Sitaula had registered their notes of dissent after Deuba’s faction pushed the party’s new charter through the CWC meeting using the majority vote. The two leaders also boycotted the next CWC meeting.

“Deuba has committed a series of mistakes which has weakened the party’s organisation. His working style has sent a negative message among the party cadres and the supporters of Nepali Congress,” Sitaula said.

The Sitaula and Poudel factions also have strong reservation on the Deuba leadership for forming two party committees on discipline and election without consulting with other leaders in the party.

The leaders from the two factions have claimed that Deuba formed the two committees to target the rivals leaders and cadres.  

Published: 07-03-2019 11:39

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