Two rival factions within the party are in a bitter dispute after the establishment faction demanded that office bearers should be picked on basis of the principle of inclusiveness.
KATHMANDU, Dec 21: A fresh dispute has begun in the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) over the number of party's office bearers and election method. This has led to the extension of the ongoing Mahasamiti meeting till Saturday.
The meeting, which was supposed to deliberate on the party's statute on Thursday, could not do so as there was no agreement between the two sides on the contentious issues of the new statute despite several rounds of negotiations. If the two sides are able to come to an agreement by Friday the Mahasamiti meeting will deliberate on the party statute before it concludes on Saturday.
The disputes emerged as the establishment faction and the rival factions differed again over the number of office bearer positions and whether the office bearers should be elected directly from general convention or nominated by the president.
The two sides within the party are in a bitter dispute after the establishment faction demanded that office bearers should be picked on basis of the principle of inclusiveness.
The two sides had earlier agreed to have a president, two vice presidents, two general secretaries, two joint general secretaries and a treasurer in the office bearers' body and elect them all except for treasurer through the general convention. This would mean significantly curtailing the power of the elected president, as he/she would not have discretionary power to nominate office bearers to secure comfortable majority in the panel.
Currently, NC brass comprises a president, a vice president, two general secretaries, a joint general secretary and a treasurer. While the president, one of the two general secretaries and a treasurer are elected directly through the general convention, the remaining office bearers are nominated by the elected president, making him powerful in terms of exercise of powers.
Leaders from the establishment faction within the party said they want to ensure that the position of party president remains powerful. The establishment faction leaders said the earlier arrangement of directly-electing the office bearers will make the president weaker and also goes against the principle of inclusiveness.
Establishment faction has now proposed having one president, two vice presidents, two general secretaries, seven joint general secretaries and a treasurer. The faction has proposed giving authority to the president to nominate from among elected Central Working Committee members one vice president, one general secretary and a treasurer.
All seven joint secretaries will be elected directly from general convention based on various seven categories except for backward region as stipulated in the constitution, according to the new proposal of the establishment faction. However, rival faction leaders appear unimpressed by the new proposal, which they suspect is just a ploy by party president Sher Bahadur Deuba to further consolidate his power.
NC Vice President Bimalendra Nidhi said they are still holding negotiations to arrive at a consensus on issues related to the new statute of the party. “We have not reached to any consensus yet. We are trying to settle the issues outside Mahasamiti Meeting,” said Nidhi.
Considering the possible delay, NC has decided to extend further the Mahasamiti meeting till Saturday, which also marks the birth anniversary of the party's late leader Krishna Prasad Bhatttarai. Originally, the meeting was scheduled to conclude Wednesday. The Mahasamiti meeting on Thursday sat only for about an hour and a half as the CWC failed to present the party's new statute for deliberations.