As Nepal has been passing through a severe political crisis, all eyes are focused on the convention of Nepali Congress. Although the present political leadership has supported the constitution, which is one of the stumbling blocks in the way to resolving the present political crisis, there is a very thin possibility to see any drastic change in the rivals on the issue of rewriting the constitution.
In the recent campaigns, the leaders have been showing an optimum flexibility to accommodate the 11-point agenda of Madheshis. Given their recent flexibility on the constitution, the convention is taken as an important political event.
Although the election process is still in its initial stage, it is almost certain that the real rivalry will be between two stalwarts, NC president and former prime minister Sushil Koirala, who represents the Koirala clan, and former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who represents anti-Koirala clan.
Almost half a million members of the party participated in the preliminary elections. The party's second and third rounds of elections will determine who will lead the party.
At a time when incumbent president Sushil Koirala is likely to contest the elections against former Prime Minister Deuba, it is not easy for either of them this time.
Although senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel and other second generation leaders are also claiming the post of party president, nobody can stop Koirala as he will be regarded as a consensus candidate.
“Only Sushil Koirala can unite the party and revive Nepali Congress glory,” said former minister and member of Central Committee member Minendra Rijal. “There is no competitor to Koirala.”
However, Koirala’s rival Deuba is expecting a rift in the Koirala camp and hoping to get elected this time. Supporters of Deuba, who has been contesting all the elections of the president since 2002 in Pokhara, feel this convention will favor him.
“Party workers will do justice for Sher Bahadur Deuba this time as he helped to unite Nepali Congress and revive the glory of the party,” said N.P. Saud, a young student leader. However, whoever wins the NC elections will make not much of a difference in the national political course, as no leader has an ideological roadmap that the party's founders B.P Koirala, Ganesh Man Singh and Subarna Sumsher would have.