Nepali Congress had a work to do: Do the serious soul-searching over electoral debacle in local, provincial and federal parliament elections, restructure the party organization in line with federal set up, resolve the issue related to fixing the number of top office bearers, elect the provincial committees, make necessary amendments to party statute to accommodate aspirations of people as well as party rank and file so on and so forth. It is precisely for this reason that youth leaders had been demanding early convention of Mahasamit Meeting—the apex decision making body of the party—right after the party suffered a huge set back in the elections last year. But as is the case, top leaders, particularly party president Sher Bahadur Deuba, turned deaf ears to these calls. For months on end, top leaders blamed each other for electoral loss but did not care to review policy flaws and failure of leadership to allocate election tickets to competent candidates. The ongoing Mahasamit Meeting, held after six long years of interval, offers Nepal’s oldest Democratic Party an opportunity to review all these aspects and chart a new course for the party as well as the country. We wish success to this event and expect that meeting will help party reemerge as a credible vibrant opposition force.
The leaders in the inaugural session have vowed to narrow down internal differences and come out as a strong and united entity. President Sher Bahdur Deuba and senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel have promised to bury the hatchets and provide new impetus to party organization. They have also promised to stand as a credible opposition to hold the government accountable for its wrongdoings. But here is a catch. Congress leaders have always rooted for unity and vowed to end factionalism once and for all. Congress leaders express such commitment in every major gathering including the general convention. They also acknowledge the need for handing over leadership to new generation leaders. But in truth the same set of leaders hold the reins and youth and competent leaders are often sidelined. If NC is to emerge as a vibrant democratic force, it must do away with tradition of making promises and not keeping them.
Congress leaders rightly criticized the government for its failure on governance and ensuring rule of law. But bashing the government alone does not make it relevant forever. Congress has long harped on socialism propounded by its founding father B P Koirala. Where does Congress differ from ruling Nepal Communist Party on socialist ideology? What are its alternative visions for development and settling pressing political questions such as constitution amendment? These are the key questions facing top leaders in Mahasamiti Meeting. Congress has been conspicuous in its failure to play the role of responsible opposition in the parliament. Mahasamiti is a venue for the party to hold rigorous discussion on policy issues, including ideological ones. It is hoped top leaders will come up with something concrete to chart new direction for the party as a well as the country. They may ignore this call at their own disadvantage.