The grand old political party, Nepali Congress (NC), was plagued by intra-party disputes regarding the distribution of active membership for one and a half years. The row had unnecessarily been prolonged due to the power struggle between the major factions led by party president and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel and another leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula. However, it has smartly resolved the issue, paving the way for its 14th general convention scheduled for November 25 to 29 in Kathmandu. This is good news for party leaders and supporters. After weeks of hectic parleys and negotiations, the ruling NC has finally sorted out its lingering row. With the date of general convention approaching nearer, the party was striving to settle the membership dispute since April/May.
To finalise the membership list, the party had formed an Active Membership Probe Committee under the leadership of central committee member Ramesh Lekhak. The Lekhak-led Committee had submitted a report of the active membership to party president and Prime Minister Deuba on July 27. However, the committee was unable to settle the membership dispute of some districts. So, a three-member taskforce was later constituted in convenorship of former general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula. Its members were Ramesh Lekhak and Dr. Minendra Rijal. Finally, Sitaula handed over the final report of active membership list to party president and Prime Minister Deuba along with senior leader Paudel on Monday evening.
This has put to rest the irritating intra-party issue. This has paved the way for holding the general convention in time. According to the Congress leaders, settlement of the membership row completes around 60 per cent works of the convention. When the party had floated the timetable of its 14th general convention for the first time in January 2020, it had pledged to finalise the active membership list within months. But the task took longer and the much-awaited settlement has come just 11 days before the convention was to begin. Due to the prolonged membership dispute, the 14th convention was deferred for three times. The membership issue should not be raised again which will only disrupt timely general convention.
Now it is the responsibility of the party’s top leaders, including PM Deuba, to successfully organise the convention in time by taking into confidence its rank and file. After the finalisation of the membership list, the party will have to hold its convention at local levels, including the wards. One thing the party leadership has to do soon is to submit the membership list to the election committee of the party. The election committee will formally initiate the process of the general convention after the president submits the list of active party members. Success of Prime Minister Deuba depends on the desired performance in the government to meet the aspirations of the people as well as consolidating the party organisation for smooth functioning. He has the onus to play active and judicious role to hold the party’s general convention in a free and fair manner within the stipulated time.