Internal feud blamed for NC’s defeatInternal disunity has emerged as a factor for the crushing defeat of the Nepali Congress in the federal and provincial elections.
Internal disunity has emerged as a factor for the crushing defeat of the Nepali Congress in the federal and provincial elections.
NC leaders said intra-party betrayals led to the failure of some candidates who had the prospect of winning elections to the House of Representatives and provincial assemblies. However, they also point to the left alliance of the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) as a primary reason for their poor showing in the polls.
In some constituencies, internal disunity became a decisive factor. Though not visible like in the past, differences were prevalent in several districts. The number of rebel candidates, however, was few this election.
Senior NC leader Ram Chandra Poudel blamed internal betrayal for his defeat in Tanahaun-2. Poduel had been winning all the parliamentary elections since the 1990s until he was defeated by left alliance candidate Krishna Kumar Shrestha on Sunday. Congress leader Govinda Raj Joshi had lobbied in particular against him in the constituency, according to party leaders. Joshi had claimed candidacy from Tanahu-1 but party President Sher Bahadur Deuba rejected it. Deuba had requested him to stay in the proportional representation (PR) category but he insisted on contesting first-past-the-post elections.
Joshi later filed his candidacy as an independent while Poudel registered a case at the Election Commission complaining that he is ineligible to be in the fray. The EC scrapped his candidacy citing a case against him sub judice in court. This infuriated Joshi and caused him to make efforts to defeat Poudel. Joshi regards Poudel as his “junior”.
There is an old rivalry between Poudel and Joshi in Tanahun and both claim the same constituency. Joshi has a grip on the party’s district committee. NC district leaders say the conflict led the left alliance to sweep Tanahun, a district regarded as an NC stronghold since 1990.
The NC is said to be holding a meeting of its Central Working Committee after the final results are out.
In Kailali-5, NC candidate Arzu Deuba, the spouse of Prime Minister Deuba, also said she had lost the polls due to non-cooperation from local leaders and cadres. Local Congress leader Pushkar Nath Ojha, among other cadres, was unhappy when the party’s Parliamentary Board decided to provide field Arzu in the constituency.
“One of the major reasons behind my defeat is betrayal by local party leaders and cadres. Ethnicity and regionalism are other regions,” Arzu told a press conference in Dhangadi on Monday. In the local level elections, NC did well in Kailali-5. PM Deuba had won the constituency in the second Constituent Assembly elections four years ago. Senior NC leaders Ram Sharan Mahat and Arjun Narsingh KC lost in Nuwakot. Intra-party rift was rife in the district since the local level polls. Former finance minister Mahat was expected to win the Nuwakot-1 seat that he had grabbed in both the CA polls.
Nuwakot District President Jagadish Narsingh KC said they had failed to manage the intra-party rift. “We could have done better if intra-party rift was properly managed. However, it was not easy to fight the alliance of two parties,” KC said. The NC has won 22 out of the 165 federal constituencies.
‘Deuba should quit on moral ground’
KATHMANDU: Nepali Congress leader and Defence Minister Bhimsen Das Pradhan has asked Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to take moral responsibility for the party’s defeat in the elections. Speaking at the Reporters’ Club on Monday, Pradhan, who was elected a member of parliament from Kathmandu-6, said a special general convention of the party should be called to elect a new leadership.
“Party President Deuba must resign to pave the way for holding a general convention,” Deuba said, urging other top leaders too to make way for the younger generation. Pradhan asked even the district presidents of the party to resign, taking moral responsibility for the NC’s historic loss.
“The current leadership cannot steer the party anymore. But Deuba deserves credit for successfully holding the elections,” said Pradhan. (PR)