Mahasamiti Raises Hope Among NC Cadres

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The recently concluded Mahasamiti meeting of the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) has generated much hope and enthusiasm among its cadres and supporters as the gathering has spread a message of unity. The Mahasamiti, which is the party’s vital policy-making body, met last week in a gap of six long years. This body is supposed to meet every two years. But the party leadership put off the meeting time and again, citing one reason after another. Deferring meetings of the Mahasamiti frequently is not good for the party’s functioning. However, the meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere despite debates among the participants belonging to the party establishment and dissident groups. The jamboree endorsed all three political papers resented by the party’s vice-president Purna Bahadur Khadka and general secretaries Gagan Kumar Thapa and Bishwo Prakash Sharma after discussing them extensively. 

In his inclusive document, Thapa appealed to the powerful committee to make a resolution that the NC will not forge any pre-poll alliance and will not create an environment in which the cadres will be forced to vote for other parties. Several Mahasamiti members raised questions over the relevance of that proposal. They said that it was not proper time for the party to delve into the matter as four long years are left for the nation to go to the next general elections. Thapa’s paper created a sense of doubt among the coalition partners. However, the meeting approved it unanimously. But the Central Working Committee (CWC) has been authorized to revise and give a final shape to all the documents. 

Actually, NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba himself was not satisfied with Thapa’s proposal considering its possible adverse impact on the present coalition. He had attempted to prevent Thapa from raising that issue at the meeting. Deuba had to rush to Baluwatar in order meet Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and assure him that the Mahasamiti meeting would not affect the government. As per the pact struck among the ruling alliance members, Deuba will lead the government on a rotation basis. The Mahasamiti meeting also decided to give continuity to the present government. If the decision had not been in favour of the coalition, the CPN-Maoist Centre would have moved ahead with a plan to join hands with the CPN-UML to for a new government.   

As the NC forged alliance with the CPN-Maoist Centre and some other small parties during the 2022 general elections, the former’s cadres were bound to vote for other forces in many constituencies across the country. Even honest and dedicated NC leaders and cadres were denied an opportunity to contest elections as they had to extend support to other parties’ leaders. That created a lot of frustration among them. With this, the party seems to have been losing its popularity. In the last general elections, its popular votes fell by five per cent as compared to the previous general elections. The NC has been facing intra-party feud as well. However, it emerged as the largest party in the federal parliament. 

Although the number of the NC active members stands at around 850,000 nationwide at present, its organisational structure is not that strong. As the party has forged alliance with the parties having different ideologies and deviated from its original principle of democratic socialism, its many genuine cadres have either remained inactive or quit it to join in other parties, especially newly-emerged forces like Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP). If the NC leadership still fails to take them into confidence and provide them with opportunities, the nation’s largest democratic party is sure to suffer further setback. So, the party leadership must remain more accommodative and work hard to bolster its organisation. Being a key partner of the incumbent coalition government, the NC also needs to play an important role in controlling corruption and improving service delivery.  

As mandated by the Mahasamiti meeting, the NC must contribute towards implementing the constitution effectively so as to provide political stability and expedite the process of socio-economic development. Since no single political party can secure a majority in the elections due to the existing electoral system, the NC has a responsibility of creating congenial political environment to amend this system. Achieving desired political stability and economic development may not be possible when there is always hung parliament. In addition, provinces have also proven to be ineffective in view of their performances. It is high time that the NC and other major political parties reviewed the performances of provinces objectively and step up measures accordingly. 

Coincidence

Many usury victims from Jhapa in the east to Kanchanpur in the west have now arrived in Kathmandu to put extra pressure on the government. They want the government to take more effective steps against loan-sharking practice. The victims walked on foot to get to the capital in order to draw the attention of the authority. It was a coincidence that they entered Kathmandu on the day when the NC’s Mahasamiti meeting was underway. This feudal form of exploitation is still prevalent across the nation, especially in the Terai belt. A lot of poor farmers have rendered landless and homeless owing to the tradition of usury. Bearing in mind the gravity of this problem, the government had formed a high-powered commission to deal with this scourge. Following the formation of the commission, numerous cases of usury were settled. The government must act in line with the suggestions made by the commission immediately to address this vital issue permanently. 

Those swindled by cooperative operators and micro-finances have also continued to take to the streets in Kathmandu and other cities across the nation. Even some political leaders have been accused of misusing depositors’ money through some cooperatives. The government must take this matter in a serious manner and probe such fraudulent activities thoroughly and bring the culprits to justice. 

(The author is a former deputy executive editor of this daily.)

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