#Race begins within NC for new PP leader

Deuba solicits votes for PP leader election as pressure mounts on him to pave the way for youth leaders

Published On: November 29, 2022 11:45 PM NPT By: Kosh Raj Koirala  | @KoshRKoirala

KATHMANDU, Nov 29: Nepali Congress(NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba, who is facing mounting pressure within his party to pave the way for youth leadership, has started soliciting votes for the crucial Parliamentary Party (PP) leader’s elections due in next few weeks.

NC President Deuba has personally started soliciting votes from the newly-elected Members of Parliament (MPs) over the telephone. Multiple MPs elected recently as members of the House of Representatives (HoR) confirmed that Deuba had personally sought their support for his bid to get elected as PP leader.

According to NC’s party statute, the MP elected as PP leader becomes the new prime minister of the country should the party garner support of the requisite majority seats in the 275-member parliament. As the vote counting is still underway, the NC has so far secured victory in 53 seats and is leading in two other constituencies under the First-Past-the-Post (FPTP) electoral system. The party has stood as the second largest in terms of the vote received under the Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system.

As NC is set to emerge as the largest party in parliament, President Deuba, who is already 77 years old, is looking to break his own record by becoming the country’s prime minister for the sixth time despite mounting pressure within the party to give up his prime ministerial bid. Majority of NC youth leaders, who were elected recently as MPs, maintained that the party should elect a youth leader as the new prime minister if it wants to attract young voters.

Ram Hari Khatiwada, a newly-elected Congress MP from Okhaldhunga, said internal exercise of PP leader election has already begun in the NC. 

“I also received phone calls from Prime Minister Deuba. The upcoming PP election should not be the election to manage leaders. This should be the election to make proper management of the country and leaders. I will cast my vote accordingly in the upcoming PP election,” he told Republica.

Among half a dozen NC leaders who have staked claim for the post of new prime minister, youth leader Gagan Thapa is seen as a strong contender for the post. Thapa had announced to start necessary preparation for the election of the PP leader shortly after he secured victory as HoR member from Kathmandu-4.

As Deuba has intensified his internal preparations to secure victory in the upcoming HoR election, youth leader Thapa, who is also the party’s General Secretary, held a meeting with another General Secretary Bishwa Prakash Sharma at his own residence in Gyaneshwar on Tuesday to forge strategy to defeat Deuba in the PP leader election. Sharma has already announced to propose Thapa’s candidacy for the PP leader.

Party insiders said this has put further pressure on Deuba as CPN (Maoist Center) Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal has also staked claim for the post of prime minister. 

“There are even suggestions coming from a section of party leaders to elect Deuba as president to pave the way for youth leaders within the party to take leadership. However, Deuba is reluctant to take any ceremonial position,” said a senior NC leader, asking not to be named.  


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