KATHMANDU, Jan 6: Questioning President Sher Bahadur Deuba's leadership for taking key decisions without consulting other leaders in the party, district presidents of the Nepali Congress close to the Ramchandra Poudel-led faction are holding a gathering at the party headquarters in Sanepa today.
It is learnt that more than 17 district presidents of the Nepali Congress close to Poudel-led faction are participating in the gathering that began at 1:25 pm today.
The meeting is taking place to exert pressure on the party leadership to follow the party's statute while making crucial decisions, according to district presidents. The Krishna Sitaula-led faction of the party has also joined the gathering.
Factions led by senior leaders Ramchandra Poudel and Krishna Sitaula have joined hands against the party leadership's recent decision to change the clauses of the party's charter, fix the general convention, add the party departments and extend the term of party's youth wing, Tarun Dal. Calling these decisions 'unilateral', the Poudel and Situala factions have demanded to correct the 'mistakes' without further delay. The Poudel and Sitaula factions have 40 district presidents.
Last week, the NC had decided to hold its 14th general convention in the third week of February 2021, in Kathmandu.
A Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting held at party headquarters Sanepa had taken the decision to this effect amid a boycott by the rival faction led by Paudel.
The CWC meeting, participated only by members close to party president Sher Bahadur Deuba, decided to extend the term of the current central working committee for a year and set the date and venue of the general convention for February 19-22, 2021 in Kathmandu. The four-year term of the current CWC is expiring in mid-March 2020. The party statute allows the CWC to extend its term for a year.
The establishment faction had unilaterally announced the date as a series of negotiations between the two sides over the past few days failed to yield any result. The rival faction had demanded a ‘package agreement’ on all contentious issues including the increment in the number of party central departments, extension of the term of the central working committees of various sister organizations and the date for the party’s general convention.
The CWC meeting also unveiled a calendar of events. This included ward level conventions of rural municipalities and municipalities on November 24, 2020, the conventions of rural municipalities and municipalities on November 26, 2020, provincial assembly regional conventions on November 30, a House of Representatives regional convention on December 2, 2020, district-level conventions on December 10 and province level conventions on December 31. The Central Convention of the party will be held nearly two months after the province conventions.
The rival factions have expressed strong dissatisfaction over the unilateral decision to announce the date of the general convention. While stating that the unilateral move to announce the general convention date had undermined efforts to reach consensus on all contentious issues, senior leader Paudel said, “The announcement of a date that far away poses a threat of landing the party in crisis.”
Paudel also vented ire that their demand to hold the general convention by mid-November 2020 had been ignored. “The date of the general convention has been pushed further to March  just ahead of the expiry of the extended term of the party’s central working committee,” he said.
The NC CWC meeting also unilaterally increased the number of party central departments to 47, up from the existing 28. The rival faction has expressed strong dissatisfaction over the increase in the number of new departments without their consensus. “There is no point increasing the number of departments at this stage,” Paudel further said.