As its founding member and ideologue late B.P. Koirala said Nepali Congress will be irrelevant as a political party once it gives up its ideological liberal democracy, patriotism and socialism.
During his lifetime, Nepali Congress maintained its space as a centrist party, not embracing the Communists and Rightist forces. Thus, Koirala used to face a harsh criticism from both.
The unbundling of Nepali Congress has started following his death. From its centrist role, Nepali Congress aligned with communist forces to overthrow Panchayat system.
Despite aligning with communists, Nepali Congress somehow retained its ideological base. After signing the 12-points in 2006 with Maoist rebels, Nepali Congress gave up all its ideals including constitutional monarchy and multi-party democracy.
Under the leadership of late GP Koirala, Nepali Congress has completely sided with communist forces even proclaiming the new constitution directing to socialism. As NC continues to deviate from its stand, it has gradually turned into a small partner of communist parties.
Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba is leading the current government. However, it is surviving under the mercy of Maoist Center. As NC is holding its 14th General Convention, Nepal’s political spectrum is under a complete control of communist ideologies.
As opposition front is controlled by K.P. Sharma Oli led CPN-UML, the reins of the government is in the hands of Maoist Center, Radical Communist Front and CPN-UML faction led by Madhav Kumar Nepal.
As the date for 14fh General Convention is approaching, Nepali Congress workers are facing tough choices regarding ideology vs individual personality cult. Frustrated by policies adopted by Nepali Congress, many old members, who have a long association with the party, have already quit the party.
As Nepali Congress party is in power under its leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, the number of people seeking membership in the party has increased. However, the old trained ideologues and workers are deserting the party making it merely a bunch of crowd.
Ideology Vs Personality
As Nepali Congress General Convention is coming closer, many new comers including from B.P. Koirala’s family members have announced to contest the post of party president against Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.
Along with Deuba, Dr Shekhar Koirala, Dr. Shashanka Koirala, Ram Chandra Poudel and Gopal Man Shrestha have announced the candidacy for the president.
However, none of them have shown their difference in terms of ideology. On the ideological front, all the candidates have the same agenda calling to strengthen the relations with current change.
The party suspended die-hard NC leaders like Govinda Raj Joshi welcoming many leaders from communist front and RPP. Ideologically, all the candidates do not stand for the vision and ideology of the party. However, all of them stand for personality cult.
As a large number of party workers have already deserted the party, there is a rush of people acquiring the membership. Distributing 852,711 active membership, Central Active Membership Probe Committee of the Nepali Congress submitted its report to party president Sher Bahadur Deuba, who is also the Prime Minister. The party granted the active membership in view of the party's upcoming 14th general convention scheduled for September 1 to 4.
Committee coordinator Ramesh Lekhak submitted the report to the party President during a meeting of the office-bearers of the party’s central committee held at Prime Minister Deuba's private residence in Budhanilkantha.
The seven-member probe committee accomplished the task and handed over the report to party President and Prime Minister Deuba, one and a half months after its formation. However, Kalyan Gurung, one of the members of the probe committee wrote a note of dissent on the report. The largest number of active members is in the age group between 41 and 60 years. According to the report submitted by the probe panel, the number of active members aged between 41 and 60 stands at 328,234 (37.3%).
Similarly, 249,774 (28.38%) of those who received active membership are from the age group of 26-40 years and 40,427 (4.59%) are aged between 16 and 25 years.
Likewise, the number of active members aged between 60 and 75 years stand at 83,010 (9.43%) and those aged above 75 years are 11,783 (1.33%). According to the Committee, the party has renewed the active membership of 409,003 and distributed new active membership to 443,678 persons.
As many as 5,000 complaints were lodged at the Committee that had it not looked into the files of active membership of Bara and Saptari districts. There are still disputes over active membership in 125 wards.
Lekhak said some disputes were forwarded to the Central Working Committee as the committee could not resolve the issue.
Meanwhile, the office bearers’ meeting also discussed the calendar of 14th general convention. Its ward convention slated for July 27 has already been postponed.
NC joint general secretary Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat informed that that meeting would fix the schedule for local level general convention of the party. He said remaining disputes over active membership would be resolved by the party's top leaders.
In it’s over 70 year’s long history, Nepali Congress Party is now facing a challenge to retain its ideological stand. The party can survive and even thrive under the leadership of any leader including prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. However, as its founder leader B.P. Koirala said the party will be no more than a bunch of crowd rather than a party of ideology having the backing of a large segment of population.