KATHMANDU, Nov 11: An intra-party feud has surfaced within the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) following the nomination of Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar as the party's vice president.
Arguing that the party statute does not allow nomination of two vice presidents, leaders of the rival faction have alleged NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba of trying to consolidate his hold in the party by breaching the party's statutory provisions.
While leaders like Ram Chandra Paudel, Prakash Man Singh and Arjun Narasingh KC have objected to the decision, another senior leader of the rival faction, Dr Shekhar Koirala, has defended the decision, terming it a “political decision”.
Singh, Paudel and KC had objected to the decision during Tuesday's CWC meeting that picked up Gachchhadar as vice president although the party already has a vice president – Bimalendra Nidhi.
Gachchhadar, who headed Nepal Democratic Forum (NDF) ahead of the parliamentary election last year, had decided to merge with NC on October 16, 2017. Gachchhadar was formerly with the NC and had held several ministerial portfolios.
The existing party statute has a provision to directly elect the president, one general secretary and a treasurer while the president has the authority to nominate the vice president, one of the two general secretaries and a joint general secretary. President Deuba has proposed to amend the party's statute to accommodate Gachchhadar as vice president in the party.
Leader Singh in a public function in Kathmandu recently argued that the party's statute should not be amended to find space for leaders close to someone in the leadership position. Singh argued that President Deuba not just failed to run the party through system and the statutory provision, but also blamed him for the party's dismal result in the last parliamentary election. The nomination is subject to approval by the party's Mahasamiti meeting in mid-December.
“Our reservation is with the way he [Gachchhadar] was nominated as vice president. President Deuba is acting as if what he decides is the party statute. We have failed to understand why he did not nominate Gachchhadar as vice president when he picked three other office bearers in May,” said a leader close to the rival faction in the party.
Sources said Deuba had promised the post of vice president to Gachchhadar, who is his former colleague, when his party decided to merge with the NC. Gachchhadar had repeatedly threatened Deuba to quit the party if he was denied the post as promised, apparently to nudge him to honor the informal understanding.
Rival faction leaders see this as a smart move to further consolidate Deuba's hold within the party
Senior leaders including Ram Chandra Paudel, Dr Shekhar Koirala, Prakash Man Singh, among others, have already announced to challenge Deuba's bid for president in the upcoming general convention. As Gachchhadar's erstwhile NDF cadres will now be provided active membership and several positions in the party's district and village level committees, the rival faction leaders fear this could make Deuba invincible in the general convention being held after two years.