KATHMANDU, April 28: As the number of aspirants continues to increase, Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba is having a tough time picking candidates for the positions of party office bearers that have remained vacant for more than two years.
While the list of influential leaders within his own faction of the party staking claims to the posts of vice president, general secretary and joint general secretary is already quite long , the rival faction led by Ram Chandra Paudel has maintained that the party president has to provide it at least one of the three posts to ensure balance within the party.
Deuba appears to be in further difficulties as then chairman of Madhesi People’s Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar, who chose to merge his party with the NC ahead of the provincial and parliamentary polls, insisted Friday in the course of the ongoing Central Working Committee (CWC) that Deuba should honor a written agreement to provide him the post of vice president.
Party insiders say Deuba is mulling over picking 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-are also eyeing the vice presidentship. The list of those lobbying for nomination as general secretary and joint general secretary is equally long .
As per the party statute, the president is authorized to pick the vice president, one of the two general secretaries and a joint general secretary from among the elected Central Working Committee (CWC) members, while the president, one general secretary and treasurer are elected directly through the general convention. The nomination of the candidates needs to be endorsed by the elected CWC members.
As the existing party statute does not allow Deuba to nominate Gachchhadar, who is not an elected CWC member, to any of the office bearer positions, party leaders see Gachchhadar’s claim further complicating matters. Nevertheless, Deuba has an option for removing the hurdles in the party statute and giving Gachchhadar some office-bearer position, if he really wants to.
NC CWC member Badri Pandey said the rival faction led by Ram Chandra Paudel also has an expectation that they will be given at least one of the three office bearer positions. The party’s establishment faction may chose to appoint them through majority vote, but this, according to party leaders, may not be an easy ride .
Sources said given the difficulty in picking candidates for the positions, discussions are also currently underway within the establishment faction to make some alternative arrangements through the party’s Mahasamiti that is likely to be convened in a few months’ time. While the rival faction has demanded the Mahasamiti meeting before mid-June, Deuba is personally in favor of holding it sometime before mid-September.