Deuba, Poudel in a tight race for PP leadershipAs the election for Nepali Congress’s Parliamentary Party (PP) leader draws closer, party President Sher Bahadur Deuba and senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel are locked in a tight race.
As the election for Nepali Congress’s Parliamentary Party (PP) leader draws closer, party President Sher Bahadur Deuba and senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel are locked in a tight race.
Both leaders are busy canvassing party’s lawmakers for the election scheduled for April 4. Deuba had lost the last PP election to Sushil Koirala by 105-89. But supporters of the newly-elected party chief claim that over a dozen parliamentarians have since switched sides. The NC has 206 parliamentarians at present.
Arjun Narsingh KC, Arjun Joshi, Jagadishwor Narasingh KC, Man Bahadur Bisokarma, Min Bahadur Bisokarma, Farmullah Mansoor, Keshav Kumar Budathoki, Parbati DC Chaudhary, Amresh Kumar Singh who voted for Koirala have joined the Deuba camp, according to Deuba aide Ramesh Rijal.
Yet Deuba may face an uphill battle to secure a majority for a win if the erstwhile establishment camp votes as one bloc, according to party insiders.
Influential NC leaders Prakash Man Singh and Ram Sharan Mahat on Thursday urged party chief Deuba to support senior leader Poudel in the PP election. The duo made such a request during a meeting with Deuba at latter’s residence in Budhanilkanta.
The duo want Poudel to be elected unanimously to maintain a party unity. They are said to have argued that the party president should not hold two important positions—party president and PP leader. Earlier on Wednesday, both Poudel and Deuba staked claim to the PP leader.
“I requested Deubaji to support Poudelji in the PP leader election to give a message of party unity,” Singh told the Post, insisting this is the right time to do that—ending all forms of factionalism in the party.
Mahat also requested Deuba to take measures to maintain unity in the party. As Deuba and Poudel drum up support for the PP chair, insiders see chances of them reaching an agreement slim. “Ultimately, there will be a fierce tussle between the two for the post of PP leader,” said a leader close to Deuba.
Krishna Prasad Sitaula, who was defeated in first round of election for the party president, is also meeting with lawmakers, but it is unclear if he was contesting for the PP leadership.
Nabindra Raj Joshi, a leader from the Poudel camp, predicts the race will be a close one.