“The time has come to change the leadership of the party. My candidacy for the party president is for the leadership change,” announced vice president Bimalendra Nidhi at a gathering of large numbers of his supporter. “ My announcement is not for withdrawal but for a contest,” said Nidhi, son of Nepali Congress stalwart late Mahendra Narayan Nidhi.
Dr. Shekhar Koirala, nephew of late B.P. Koirala has also announced to contest the elections for the party president challenging the current leader and prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba. “My candidature is not for withdrawal. I am contesting the elections to win.”
Although some others also have announced their candidature, Nidhi and Dr. Koirala’s announcements have meaning and political weight. With the announcement by Dr. Koirala, senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel and general secretary and son of BP Koirala Dr. Shashanka Koirala are in a difficult position.
Living in the same group for a long time opposing Deuba, Poudel and Dr. Shashanka Koirala share the same vote bank. The sudden announcement by Dr. Koirala has put them in dilemma about what to do.
Although Nidhi and Dr. Koirala have announced their candidacy for the president, prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s leadership is unchallengeable right now. Having built a strong leadership quality, prime minister Deuba leaves his contemporary Ram Chandra Poudel, who lost the elections last time, far behind.
“The forthcoming convention is highly important. All leaders and cadres of all levels need to be together to conduct the party's 14th general convention in a unified manner,” said Deuba, opening the district level convention in Bhaktapur. Deuba expressed his belief that the party's general convention will consolidate internal democracy in the party.
He suggested electing a unanimous leadership of the party through the general convention and giving a message of unity, stating that the general convention would make the party united as it is the forum for formulating the action plan and electing the leadership for the next term.
Stating that the general convention had to be organized amidst the risk of the corona virus infection for saving the Nepali Congress' legitimacy, the party president called upon all party members to participate in the general convention, fully abiding by the health safety protocols.
“The process for the general convention has started,” Deuba said, adding that the party would be taken ahead more vigorously by electing the leadership through democratic system.
As the NC general convention had kicked off from the ward level, it will take another two months to complete the entire process to hold central level general convention to elect the party president.
As the General Convention approaches, all the political leaders at the center are busy with their mobiles to reach their well wishers for getting elected as members of general convention.
As a large number of youth participated at the local level elections, NC’s convention will bring many new faces sending many old leaders to pack up. Although he was expelled from the party general membership, former senior leader of Nepali Congress Govinda Raj Joshi still has a large number of followers in the party.
Joshi holds the view that there is no real threat to Deuba’s leadership now. “Deuba will win the elections in the 14th General Convention. However, Nidhi will give formidable challenge in the first round,” said Joshi.
“Following these elections, the leadership era of Ram Chandra Poudel, Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Dr. Shekhar Koirala and many others is going to end in the party.”
“After the elections, Deuba will lead the party as president and Nidhi, Dr. Shashanka Koirlaa and Prakash Man Singh will likely emerge as troika leadership in the second generation. Ultimately, Nidhi will emerge as a real leader in the next elections wining the party president.”
Politics is always a harsh and difficult sail. Going by the current political trends, it looks like the era of old leadership has gone and new political equation will arrive in the party.