Religion a prime agenda for the next Nepali Congress Leadership

News Analysis Reporters Club:  The leadership of the Nepali Congress is finding it excruciating to put a stop to the agenda of turning Nepal back into a Hindu nation. A current bone of contention among various central and sub-committee members, there is a number of members that are in favor of Nepal turning back to a Hindu nation. This will prove to be a crucial point for the leaders vying for positions in the Central Working Committee in the next convention.

Current President and Former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and senior leader and former minister Ram Chandra Poudel are not in favor of Nepal turning back to being a Hindu nation. While the President is silent on this matter, Poudel is known to oppose the agenda. Vice-President Bimalendra Nidhi has come out in the open as a fierce opponent supporting the secular fabric of the nation. This very reason last Saturday brought protestors against him and the police had to be called to contain the situation.

Bijaya Kumar Gachhedar who is also the Vice-President who returned back to the Nepali Congress party has been known to get closer toward the agenda. He had met important leaders and religious figures close to the Bharatiya Janata Party, ( a Hindu nationalist and ruling party of India). His politics have been recreant known for switching sides, so there is a possibility that he would support the agenda. Purna Bahadur Khadka leader of the Nepali Congress is also silent considering this matter.

Within the Nepali Congress, the agenda is said to be led by Dr. Shashank Koirala, although the sources are unconfirmed. He has been vocal about his support for the cause in the past. Central Committee member Shankar Bhandari is also a known supporter of the Hindu cause.

Dr. Shekhar Koirala recently stated that one of the stars represented in the Nepali Congress flag stands for secularism and religious freedom, although he has personally not made his stance clear. Former Minister Sujata Koirala is against the idea of Nepal turning back on its secular stand. She is in favor of secularism and religious freedom.

The coming convention of the Nepali Congress will depend on who sticks to the agenda, and votes are going to be decided on this basis. The parties stand on political issues is diminishing while the founding direction given by Late B.P.Koirala is picking up as the base. The current leadership is being questioned and blamed for following an agenda outside the party line or more inclined towards the Communists. In order for the Nepali Congress to come out stronger, there is an urgent need to take up the agenda that is in line with the majority of the people in order to be back into the masses. The Nepali Congress will lose a crucial opportunity and weaken further if it does not correct its course of action. They have to take this as a warning sign of what lies ahead of them in the times to come.

To stop the agenda for Nepal to be a Hindu nation within the Nepali Congress party seems highly improbable. It will be a huge implication if not further dealt with within party structures. The agenda may determine the next leadership within the Nepali Congress party and leaders alike will have to take sides and substantiate their opinion. The Koirala family is seen to take back the ropes of leadership, but current President Deuba too will give in his best to remain as the leading figure of the party. Leaders have been working internally with party workers and senior leader and former Minister Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat has also softened his stance toward the agenda. The faction close to the current President Deuba remains silent.

Senior Leader Ram Chandra Poudel has not been favoring the agenda, but if his leadership and position are at stake then he may reconsider his stance. Former Minister and Nepali Congress leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula are of the opinion to separate religion from politics. He was instrumental in working towards the secular fabric of the nation and hence it is unlikely that he would change his stance come what may. The idea of reestablishing Nepal as a Hindu nation has caught up within the party and this thought is gaining momentum. It will be a crucial time during the next convention when voters go out to vote for a change in the leadership and the central working committee.

Religion has played a dominant role in world politics. Even countries like the USA, European Nations, and India are heavily influenced. Religion has always had an important role in deciding the leadership be in Nepal or any other nation in the world. Nepali Congress should carefully decide on what stance to take as a political party, is founder had always been in favor of Nepal as a Hindu nation and a ceremonial Monarch. It will be decided in the coming days as to what the people really want, till then Nepali Congress will have to weigh and balance all the options that it has.