KATHMANDU, May 3: Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba has expedited negotiations with rival faction led by Ram Chandra Paudel to settle the row over nominations of three office bearers’ positions in the party.
President Deuba had sent Central Working Committee (CWC) member Prakash Sharan Mahat and NP Saud to Paudel’s residence in Bohoratar for negotiation on Wednesday, according to sources. However, it is not immediately know what transpired in the meeting.
A CWC meeting scheduled to pick three office bearers on Monday was postponed for Friday to forge consensus within the rival factions after Paudel faction threatened to boycott the meeting.
The Paudel faction has maintained that the appointment of vice president, general secretary and joint general secretary should be made on the basis of consensus, giving example of then party President Sushil Koirala nominating Purna Bahadur Khadka from Deuba faction as joint general secretary.
Paudel has said that the appointment of three office bearers after more than two years of the general convention goes against the provision of the party statute. As per the statute, the appointment has to be made within two months after the general convention. “We have maintained that there must be consensus if the appointment has to be made now,” said a leader close to Paudel.
The CWC meeting that was supposed to pick a candidate each for the posts of vice president, general secretary and joint general secretary of the party was put off at the eleventh hour after Paudel faction threatened to boycott the meeting in which the party president was planning to unilaterally pick the candidates.
Leaders close to Deuba said that the party president wanted to settle the nomination row through majority basis if there was no consensus with the Paudel faction.
As there are a number of candidates eyeing for the three coveted posts, NC President Deuba is having a tough time picking the candidates for the posts that have remained vacant for more than two years. Party insiders say Deuba is mulling to pick senior leader Bimalendra Nidhi as vice president, Purna Bahadur Khadka as general secretary and Prakash Sharan Mahat as joint general secretary.
However, Gopal Man Shrestha and Gyanendra Bahadur Karki -- two senior leaders in the Deuba faction- and chairman of Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (Democratic) Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar are also eyeing for the post of vice president. The list of those lobbying for nomination as general secretary and joint general secretary is equally long.
On the part of Paudel faction, Dilendra Prasad Badu is said to be a strong candidate should Deuba choose to give in to the demand of Paudel faction to provide them the post of joint general secretary.
NC rival faction holding NSU CWC meeting Thursday
The rift within the NC has manifested in the party’s sister organization, Nepal Students Union (NSU), as office bearers and central working committee members of the students’ body are holding a separate CWC meeting on Thursday afternoon.
The meeting at Balmiki Campus has been called by General Secretary Kundan Kafle. The NSU office bearers and CWC members of the NSU close to Paudel and Krishna Sitaula faction are attending the meeting, according to dissenting leaders within the NSU.
NSU leader Deepak Bhattarai, who is a defeated general secretary candidate in the last general convention of the NSU, said they decided to call the CWC meeting as NSU President Nain Singh Mahar failed to call even a single CWC meeting in a year.
“The NSU president has been taking controversial decisions, flouting the NSU statute and norms. This has created disputes among NSU leaders and cadres in various colleges and vitiated the environment to hold the 12th general convention on time,” said Bhattarai.
Student leaders of the rival faction of NSU alleged that President Mahar had unilaterally nominated CWC members and invited members and tried to seize NSU. “We will revoke all the controversial decisions taken by the president and ensure that NSU organization is run through system and procedures set in the NSU statute,” another NSU leader said.