NC establishment carries on bid to find common candidateEven as senior leaders in the establishment faction of the Nepali Congress have begun closed-door negotiations to zero in on a consensus candidate for the party presidency, there are no signs of an agreement on a name.
Even as senior leaders in the establishment faction of the Nepali Congress have begun closed-door negotiations to zero in on a consensus candidate for the party presidency, there are no signs of an agreement on a name.
Acting President Ram Chandra Poudel, General Secretaries Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Prakash Man Singh, and central member Sujata Koirala have all staked their claims to the top party post. After party president Sushil Koirala’s demise, all these leaders are competing to establish themselves as the natural heir.
With all the major leaders unwilling to give up their ambitions, the rank and file on the establishment side also remains divided. There are at least four groups in the camp led by Poudel, Sitaula, Singh and Shashank Koirala.
Poudel, Sitaula and Singh held several rounds of talks on Tuesday and Wednesday in order to reach an agreement. While Sujata is publicly saying that her candidacy will not be at the cost of harming the establishment, there are no indications yet that she will be offered a senior position in exchange for her support to one of the candidates.
While Poudel claims that he is the senior leader of the establishment faction after Sushil Koirala’s demise, Sitaula says he holds the ideological legacy of the late Girija Prasad Koirala and Sushil. Singh, on his part, argues that as a son of the veteran NC leader Ganesh Man and the elected general secretary, he is the party’s senior most leader. The trio is also busy meeting other leaders to get their backing.
All of these hopefuls value the support of the Koirala clan in order to bolster their election chances. “There have been several rounds of negotiation with Sitaula and Singh for forging consensus in the name of Poudel,” said NC leader Madhu Acharya.
NC leaders such as Ram Krishna Tamrakar and Dil Bahadur Gharti want Shashank to vie for the party president. Even in the event of a defeat, it would establish a strong faction led by the Koirala family.
As the establishment faction remains fragmented, Deuba is trying to maximise benefit for his side. He is counting on top leaders left out on the other side to join him. Leader Arjun Narsingh KC could jump to the Deuba camp, according to leaders.
However, Deuba’s close aide Prakash Sharan Mahat said it was not yet clear that KC will fight for general secretary from the Deuba camp. “Discussions are going on as we want more leaders from the establishment camp [on our side] to make the party united,” he said. Deuba is closely watching the developments in the rival camp.