Buying Office


Sept. 3, 2010, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.: 4 No.-07 September 3-16, 2010 (Bhadra 18, 2067)

If the Nepali Congress and the UML had their ways they too would have been at it. Like their Maoist counterpart. In the race to grab the coveted prime minister’s chair.

Due to own internal wrangling the UML candidate Jhalnath Khanal ‘withdrew’ from the race. The NC’s Ram Chandra Poudel is still in the race, but is not in a position to ‘fix’ the contest.

Both had shown tremendous grit and skill in manipulating votes for power during the hung parliament more than ten years ago. With the-then royalist Rastriya Prajatantra Party MPs always “on sale” to swing the balance in one or the other main parties’ favour.

Few bothered then to find out where did the money come from – inside or outside. Even now, the situation has not changed.

If the money power is on full show in the prime minister’s election, thanks to the revolutionary party’s new zeal, the socialist Nepali Congress is witnessing the vulgar display of the green bucks in the run up to the general convention which is due to elect a new leadership including a president who will formally take the place of the octogenarian Girija Prasad Koirala who passed away earlier this year.

About 30 million rupees have been estimated as the total expenditure for the big event, but party insiders admit that double that amount is being spent to buy one’s way into the central committee and the top officer bearers’ body.

Top functionaries Sher Bahadur Deuba and Sushil Koirala are the top contenders for the coveted post of the president, with "honest" veteran Bhim Bahadur Tamang as a poor dark horse

There have been credible reports that millions had been spent at the local and district level elections.

The general convention elections have indeed rejuvenated the party at the grass root level after almost 15 years. The non-violent party had practically been uprooted from its base by the armed Maoist cadres across the country.

New blood has also been inducted in the party in recent elections.
All good signs indeed for the oldest democratic party with the most credible international recognition.

But serious concerns run deep if the party can retain its ideals and values amidst the flood of money that has gone into the general convention.

Said a veteran leader, now holding an important official position, “never before I have seen such a vulgar show of money in our party.”

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