KATHMANDU, Jan 1: Nepali Congress (NC) observes the National Reconciliation Day each year to promote harmony and unity among various political forces in the country. Ironically, the National Reconciliation Day celebration this year on Sunday laid bare the divisions and disputes in the grand old party.
NC establishment faction and the rival faction led by Ram Chandra Paudel observed two separate functions to mark the Day in the capital on Sunday. The rival factions of the party's student wing, Nepal Students' Union (NSU), organized separate functions in the capital to mark the Day. While one faction organized a function at the City Hall with party president President Sher Bahadur Deuba as chief guest, NSU faction close to Ram Chandra Paudel organized a separate function at Tri-Chandra College. The party's former General Secretary Prakash Man Singh attended the function as chief guest.
Separately, another NC faction often termed as the third faction had organized a function to mark the National Reconciliation Day for two days on Saturday and Sunday. NSU leaders said those close to Paudel faction and Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Gagan Thapa-led faction did not attend the function organized at the City Hall.
NSU leaders close to Paudel faction alleged that they decided to run parallel activities after the NSU establishment 'arbitrarily' appointed its office bearers and central committee members. “We had submitted a memorandum to party president Sher Bahadur Deuba a week ago. We decided to run parallel activities as the party president did not do anything to address our concerns as promised earlier,” said NSU leader Manoj Baidya.
The disputes within the NSU started after its president Nain Singh Mahar 'unilaterally' appointed all CWC member and the party's office bearers. As per the NSU statute, NSU President has right to appoint 21 CWC members including six office bearers. The NSU statute makes it mandatory for the president to appoint them in consultation within the NC.
The six office bearer positions include one general secretary, three joint general secretaries, and two vice presidents. Mahar has already appointed Ananda Raj Tripathi as general secretary and 15 CWC members. Now the positions of two vice presidents and three joint general secretaries are vacant in the NSU.
Paudel faction, which claims to have won majority seats in the general convention, had demanded 50 percent share in the nomination to be made by NSU president for 21 various positions. Disputes began after Mahar unilaterally made the appointments on the eve of the parliamentary and provincial elections. “We did not react immediately as the party was going to an election. We submitted a memorandum to the party president after the conclusion of the elections. We started our parallel activities as the party president did not fulfill his promises to settle the disputes as promised during the meeting,” said UP Lamichhane, a former spokesperson of NSU.
NSU President Mahar, however, dismissed the allegations. "I made the nominations in line with the NSU statute. I won't allow anyone to misuse the organization for personal gains under the pretext of power-sharing. I will continue to take decisions as per the authority is given to me by the NSU statute," Mahar told Republica.