Dr Shashanka Koirala, Nepali Congress internal crisis
Dr Shashanka Koirala

The main opposition party, Nepali Congress, has not been able to resolve the internal disputes that have been plaguing it for long. After 56 district presidents recently warned special general convention expressing dissatisfaction over president Sher Bahadur Deuba’s move to approve the charter ignoring the Mahasamiti’s decision to amend it, the internal crisis has escalated even more.

Reporters’ Club Nepal President Rishi Dhamala talked with Nepali Congress General Secretary Shashank Koirala focusing on the party’s recent development. Excerpts:

How did the subject of special general convention raise in the Nepali Congress? Is it necessary now?

The Nepali Congress Mahasamiti meeting held in December last year had decided to amend the party’s charter that would allow the election of general convention representative from the grassroots level. But the party Central Working Committee meeting, held in February, reversed the decision taken by the Mahasamiti meeting and adopted a provision that automatically allows the sitting CWC members to represent and vote in the general convention. The district presidents had also asked the CWC to end the trend of picking the same leaders under the proportional representation quota. But party President Sher Bahadur Deuba ignored Mahasamiti and took the decision going against the spirit of the Mahasamiti. Discontented by this, the presidents of 56 districts warned of calling the special general convention.

Deuba should take the grievances of district leaders seriously. Otherwise, it could result in unexpected consequences.

What will be the consequences if Deuba does not annul the decisions made going against the will of district presidents?

First, Deuba should revoke the CWC decision and remove that provision from the charter as demanded by the district presidents. Next, the general convention should be held on time. Otherwise, it will affect our next elections. It is necessary for us to get united with view of the elections. If the CWC decision, though it was approved by majority votes, is not revoked, there is no option to holding special general convention.

How will the special general convention benefit the party?

No, it won’t. It is a risky business for the Nepali Congress. If the special general convention is held, the Nepali Congress will split. Therefore, Deuba should annul the CWC decision and save the party.

Is there any intention not to let the general convention re-elect Deuba as president?

I don’t want to say that. But, it is apparent that party leaders and cadres have sought change in leadership—and similar is my vote. I don’t think the party is ready to accept the old leadership now.

Will the new president be elected from your panel?

There is a need for unity among us.

Are you preparing for the presidential race against Deuba?

It is a difficult question. I can become a candidate when I will be able to unite the party. As I have said earlier, there will be only one candidate from our side. But, it is my wish that Deuba himself should hand over the leadership to the new generation. If this doesn’t happen, then we will field a candidate against Deuba for the presidential race. I could be one. It is time for new leadership in Nepali Congress.

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