NEPALI CONGRESS CONVENTIONDeuba's Rise

As Nepali Congress elects Sher Bahadur Deuba as its president from its recently concluded convention, the government feels shaken

March 17, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol 09, No 17, March 18,2016 (Chaitra 5,2072)

With the election of former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba as the party president with a thumping control in the central working committee, the power struggle is likely to shift towards changing the government led by K.P. Sharma Oli.

Almost after two decades of political struggle, Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba offset the grip of Koiralas in the party winning seats for an absolute control of the decision making body. Now, prime minister KP Sharma Oli already feels a threat to his present government.

Not only prime minister Oli, deputy prime minister and leader of RPP-Nepal Kamal Thapa feels a threat too, as his position might slip with the upsurge of Nepali Congress and rise of Deuba.

Although prime minister K.P.Sharma Oli is expressing the hope that Nepali Congress will join his government, Nepali Congress is unlikely to do so given so many parties in the power sharing. “This government will continue till the holding of elections. No one can shake this government any time soon,” said CPN-UML leader Oli.

Although newly elected NC president Deuba has said that Nepali Congress will not pull down this government, he argued that this government will fall due to its own contradictions.

As Nepali Congress comes out from the 13th convention, there is a growing pressure in the party to pull down the present government and to form another government on its own or one favorable to the party.

“This government cannot be a national government. There must be another national government to hold credible elections,” demanded former NC general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula.

Even Sitaula, who is regarded as neutral in forming the government, has come out with such a statement, and, hence, one can imagine other hardliners and their statement about this government. “As the largest party in the parliament, it is natural for Nepali Congress to lead the government. As our party played an important role in the promulgation of the new constitution, it is our responsibility to implement it taking the charge in the government.”

Following the disputes with CPN-UML on the nomination of justice in Supreme Court, UCPN-Maoist leaders too are threatening to quit the government. Although UCPN-Maoist leader Prachanda has said that they will settle the disputes on appointment of judges, this alone is unlikely to end the differences.

Following the decision of speaker of Legislature Parliament Onsari Gharti returning the names of judges to Judicial Council, the relations between CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist have deteriorated.

Even the leader of Madheshi Janadhikar Forum Loktantrik Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar has expressed anger over the nomination of judges of the Supreme Court. To woo Gachchhadar, prime minister K.P.Sharma Oli himself visited Gachchhadar at his house recently.

Although no one can see any visible move to change the government, prime minister Oli has already felt that his government’s future is uncertain. As the pressure is coming from NC, prime minister Oli has softened his stand towards Madhesh based parties. Receiving the demands from Madheshi Front, Prime Minister Oli said that his government is ready to fulfill all the demands.

Dominated by Koiralas for decades, the party has now Deuba emerging as a strong leader in Nepali Congress winning a workable majority in the central committee. Deuba was elected president of the Nepali Congress after he defeated Ramchandra Paudel.

It was colossal victory for Deuba, as he defeated Paudel with a margin of 526 votes. Of the 3,161 voters, 3,120 cast their votes in the runoff polls. In the first round of polling, 3,148 votes were cast.

Deuba, 68, will be the party president for the next four years. Deuba, who has been prime minister thrice, was defeated by Girija Prasad Koirala and Sushil Koirala for the top party post in 11th and 12th NGCs.

Along with Deuba, Dr. Shashank Koirala, son of B.P. Koirala, won the general secretary of the party, defeating veteran politician Arjun Narshing KC with a margin of 400 votes and young turk Gagan Thapa. In the elections of Treasurer, former education minister Chitra Lekha Yadav was defeated.

Election of Nepali Congress

There was a very unusual alliance in NC elections this time where veteran and prominent leaders of Nepali Congress were defeated. Former minister and joint general secretary Govinda Raj Joshi lost the election securing over 1100 votes.

Former speaker and general secretary Taranath Ranabhat also lost the elections along with former minister and leader of Nepali Congress Laxman Ghimire, who lost in the open category.

In the elections of  25 CWC  members, Dr. Shekhar Koirala secured the highest votes followed by Khum Bahadur Khadka, Prakash Man Singh and K.B. Gurung. Other includes Pradip Paudel, Pradip Giri, Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat, Sujata Koirala, Mahesh Acharya, Prakash Sharan Mahat, Dr. Narayan Khadka, Dr. Minendra Rijal, Bal Bahadur K.C, Ramesh Lekhak, NP Saud, Bishwo Prakash Sharma, Chandra Bhandari, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, Shanker Bhandari.  Out of 25, Deuba panel secured 14.

Youth leaders and lawmakers Ram Hari Khatiwada, Ranjeet Karna, Uday Shamsher Rana and Mahalaxmi Upadhyaya lost their election for CWC. Similarly other lawmakers Manmohan Bhattarai, Padma Narayan Chaudhari and Rajan KC also lost the fray for CWC member.

Former vice chairman of National Planning Commission Dr Govinda Prasad Pokharel, former chairman of the Nepal Bar Association Prem Bahadur Khadka and former president of Federation of Nepali Journalists Taranath Dahal also failed to get elected as NC central committee members.

As the general convention concluded, 35 leaders who were in the previous CWC have now lost their positions. Among them, 19 were elected directly from the previous general convention in 2010 and two others were nominated later by the then president. Of those 21 leaders, six fought for top positions such as party president, general secretary and treasurer, while other 15 lost their race for CWC position.

Two former CWC members - President Sher Bahadur Deuba and General Secretary Shashank Koirala - have now been elevated to top posts in the party. Newly-elected party Treasurer Sita Devi Yadav is completely a new face in the party CWC.

Thirteen other new faces have made it to the CWC position. Ramesh Lekhak, Bishwo Prakash Sharma, Chinkaji Shrestha, Kalyan Gurung, Bahadur Sing Lama, Mohan Basnet, Bir Bahadur Balayer, Hridayaram Thani, Dila Sangraula, Sarita Prasai, Laxmi Pariyar, Kiran Yadav and Devendra Raj Kandel are the new faces who have become CWC members of the largest party.

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