Rift in NC over general convention date

Published On: August 2, 2019 06:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Aug  2: A serious 'deficit of trust' between the establishment and rival faction of the main opposition, Nepali Congress (NC), has emerged after there was no immediate consensus in the party on holding the general convention within the stipulated date of mid-February, 2020.

While the establishment faction has proposed during the ongoing Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting to set the date of general convention after forming the party's interim structures in an apparent bid to defer the convention for a year, the dissident faction led by Ram Chandra Paudel has insisted that the party leadership first proposed the calendar of events for the 14th general convention. The Paudel faction has alleged that the establishment has been conspiring to defer the general convention by proposing settling the issue of the party's interim structures first in line with the federal structures of the country.

The ongoing CWC meeting of the party could not convene on Wednesday after Paudel said the meeting cannot proceed unless the party leadership unveiled the calendar of events for the general convention by mid-February. The meeting was adjourned till Friday after Paudel's objection.

General Secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka had proposed settling the calendar of events through consensus later and discuss first developing interim structures of the party's various bodies. Paudel had immediately protested the proposal saying that the establishment was trying to buy time to form the interim structures of the party's various bodies and eventually propose deferring the convention on the pretext that there was time constraint to hold the convention on time.

Furious as he was by the allegation of the Paudel faction in the meeting, NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba criticized the leaders belonging to the Paudel faction for trying to project him as a 'villain' during the CWC meeting on Wednesday. Stating that he had never said that he would not hold the general convention within the stipulated time, Deuba accused the leaders of belonging to the Paudel faction of trying to project themselves as "heroes".

Senior NC leaders say the rift seen between President Deuba and the rival faction in the party is a result of the widening trust deficit that exists within the party. “I think both sides know that the general convention will be deferred at least for a year. The rift seen between the two sides is merely a reflection of the growing trust deficit between them,” said a senior leader preferring to be unnamed.

According to the NC statute, the party president has the authority to defer the general convention at least for a year "if there are special circumstance in the country." None of the NC's general conventions have been held within the four-year term of the party's CWC in the recent past.

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