By Ram Prasad Dahal Kathmandu, Dec. 9: As four days are left to file candidacy for the 14th general convention of the Nepali Congress, top leaders are in hectic parleys to decide on consensus candidates including the party president. Leaders of both the factions -- led by party president Sher Bahadur Deuba and senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel -- were in intensified meetings on Wednesday. But the names of the candidates were not finalised till the evening.
Moreover, the Paudel faction could not pick a single candidate for party president despite its marathon meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday. All three factions -- led by Prime Minister and party president Deuba, senior leader Paudel and leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula -- held separate meetings in bid to select consensus candidates and finalise names from their respective panels.
The NC Central Election Committee has already made public the calendar of election programme under 14th general convention. As per the calendar, voters’ list would be made public on December 10, the day when the general convention will begin. Likewise, the candidates should file their nominations on December 11 and voting will take place on December 13. The meeting of the establishment faction held at Prime Minister and NC president Deuba’s private residence in Budhanilkantha concluded Deuba should lead the party for another term. After the meeting, leader Dila Sagraula informed that the meeting unanimously asked Deuba to stand for party president for the next term. The meeting decided that the panel of Deuba loyal candidates would contest election under the leadership of Prime Minister Deuba.
In the meeting, Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand, Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, joint general secretary Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma and leader NP Saud claimed for party general secretary from the team. Other leaders also claimed for the post of party office bearers. However, the meeting did not take any decision. The meeting gave the responsibility to nine central leaders to prepare the list of Central Working Committee member aspirants from the panel.
Saud and Ramesh Lekhak, general secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka and Karnali Province Chief Minister and NC leader Jeevan Bahadur Shahi, Home Minister Khand, leader Gopal Man Shrestha, Dr. Mahat, Ramesh Rijal and Minister and leader Karki got the responsibility to prepare the list from Sudurpaschim, Karnali, Lumbini, Gandaki, Bagmati, Province 2 and Province 1 respectively. The meeting is to continue on Thursday. The faction led by Paudel held its meeting at the Chaksibari-based residence of leader Prakash Man Singh. But the meeting failed to garner consensus after Singh stood firm about his candidacy for party president. Senior leader Paudel, general secretary Dr. Shashank Koirala and leader Dr. Shekhar Koirala, however, were in favour of consensus. After the meeting, leader Guru Ghimire informed that the meeting failed to pick a single candidate for party president from the rival faction as Singh did not budge from his claim. Leader Hirdayaram Thani also said the Central Working Committee members loyal to Paudel faction asked the four leader to reach a consensus. “They have to learn from their fathers, who did not show greed for any political post,” he said.
Paudel faction loyal NC newly-elected district presidents and former presidents also asked the leaders to forge consensus. Ghimire said the next meeting of the group would be held on Thursday. In the meeting, exhibiting frustration, leader Paudel said if consensus eluded four leaders, he would take retirement from the party. “If all of us contest and do not forge consensus I will desert the party,” he said. Consensus for party president has become difficult in Paudel faction as Singh and Dr. Shekhar Koirala remained adamant to their claim. However, Paudel and Dr. Shashank had already told that they were ready to give up their claim for consensus. The other faction led by leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula also held discussion to make strategies. After a meeting held between Paudel and Sitaula, the faction led by latter held a separate meeting.
4319 voters Meanwhile, the NC has made public the preliminary list of delegates for the 14th general convention. In the preliminary list that was made public by the Central Election Committee on Tuesday, 4319 delegates are elected for general convention. The party has scheduled to begin its general convention on December 10 in Kathmandu. The code of conduct for general convention has been published as well. Meanwhile, a code of conduct for the general convention was made public also on Wednesday.
CWC meeting today
The party has called its CWC meeting on Thursday. NC chief secretary Krishna Prasad Paudel informed that the meeting would take necessary decisions for the 14th general convention preparation.