NEPALI CONGRESS CONVENTIONAt Ideological Crossroads

Nepali Congress is holding its 13th convention at a time when the party is in a deep ideological crisis

March 3, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol 09.No 16, March 4,(Falgun 21, 2072)

“As Nepal has been passing through a difficult phase, struggling for its own survival as a nation, the time has come for Nepali Congress to review its ideology and present stand,” said Dr. Shashank Koirala, son of late BP Koirala, in his recent interview to BBC Nepali Service.

Junior Koirala pointed out the need to revise, if necessary, the policy taken by Nepali Congress after the political change of 2006. “The country has been facing a major crisis as BP Koirala predicted a long time back. We need to practice and follow BP. Koirala’s national reconciliation,” said Koirala.

With the decision of late GP Koirala in 2006, Nepali Congress amended its constitution making it as party pursuing a republican, secular and federal state, giving up its stand on constitutional monarchy and religious freedom.

Since 2006 Nepali Congress has sided with the stand of communist parties, including that of UCPN-Maoist and CPN-UML, Nepali Congress has lost its own centrist positioning. Many other old stalwarts of Nepali Congress, including former assistant General Secretary Govinda Raj Joshi, former general secretary K.B. Gurung and leader Binaya Dhoj Chand left the establishment side long time back, pleading for B.P. Koirala’s national reconciliation.

With the new statement from Dr. Shashanka Koirala, other leaders including Ram Chandra Poudel, Sher Bahadur Deuba and Sujata Koirala are in having a difficult time. Although Krishna Prasad Sitaula dismissed the possibility of revival of NC Policy, three top contenders are yet to issue any statement about it.

“As the country is in trouble, keeping its integrity intact as an independent nation and democracy is really tough. It is the duty of Nepali Congress to take drastic decisions. I will put all the issues before the members and it is up to them to decide,” said Dr. Koirala.

Nepali Congress has paid a heavy price from deviation from its ideology as Nepal went under the complete grip of communists. Although Nepali Congress is the largest party in the country, it did not find its role in the present power equation.

Unlike other leaders, Dr. Koirala also said that he does not consider that party's position is more important than its ideology. All three candidates Deuba, Poudel and Koirala offered him to contest as the general secretary.

Whether Dr. Koirala’s voice is heard or goes unheard, it is likely to make a difference in Nepali Congress' forthcoming convention where its party cadres are likely to ask several questions.

Although it is still uncertain how many leaders are likely to contest for party president, three candidates, former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Ram Chandra Poudel and Sujata have already announced their candidacy. General Secretary K.P.Sitaula has also declared that he will file his nomination.

Given the competition among Paudel, Koirala and Sitaula, Deuba will have a distinct advantage. But even Deuba, who has already established himself as a national leader, and other three would have to face a hard time.

Deuba Only Leader Of Stature: Karki

Follower of Sher Bahadur Deuba, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki says this is time to vote Deuba. Excerpts:

Why should former Prime Minister Deuba be given the votes?

He is the only leader in the party to have a nationwide acceptance. He is capable to lead the party in the present context.

Do you believe he will win?

I don’t have any doubt about it. There is no leader in the party with Deuba’s stature. He contested elections in the past three general conventions.

How serious is the difference in your group to select the panel members?

There is no difference in our group. There is almost a consensus in selecting the candidates for the central committee.

What difference will Deuba’s elections make for the country and party?

Former Prime Minister Deuba is a very accommodative leader and his victory will also help to implement the present constitution. He can revive our party’s glory and image.

Establishment leaders have criticised Deuba as a leader. How do you look at this?

There is no longer any establishment and anti-establishment view now. We are asking for votes for Deuba on the basis of his own ability and capability. No leader in the party at present can challenge this former prime minister.

How much hope do you actually have that Deuba will win?

This election is for ideology and Deuba is the only leader in Nepali Congress who can revive the party’s glory as propounded by B.P Koirla, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Ganesh Man Singh and Mahendra Narayan Nidhi.

Paudel Has Clean Image: Badu

Spokesperson of Nepali Congress Dilendra Prasad Badu holds the view that Ram Chandra Paudel will win the elections.

How do you see the possibility of Paudel winning the election?

I am confident that Paudel jee will win elections. There is nobody to challenge him at this juncture. Paudel jee has a clean image and is committed to the ideology of the party.

At a time when there are three contestants in the party, don’t you think the division in your party can weaken your stand?

I don’t think there will be any division. We will file a consensus leader. Paudel jee is going to be the consensus leader.

How will Paudel make a difference?

For a long time, Ramchandrajee has been following Girijababu and Sushilda. He is the right person to lead the establishment. Ramchandrajee firmly stood for party’s ideology as propounded by Girija Babu and Sushilda.

When do you announce your panel?

We will announce our panel shortly. I am confident that Ramchandrajee will win elections.

Why Paudel and not others?

For the implementation of new constituion, there is the need to have Ramchandrajee as the party president. He will ultimately lead Nepali Congress into its glorious days.

 

 

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