Nepali Congress proposes to hold its 14th general convention on September 1-4Provincial and local level conventions will be concluded by August, according to the revised schedule.
Amid uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Nepali Congress has proposed to hold its 14th general convention on September 1-4, nine days after the previously announced dates.
As per the constitutional obligation, the party has to organise its general assembly by mid-September. The convention is expected to elect new leadership from the central to local levels.
The Nepali Congress held its 13th general convention in March, 2016, where Sher Bahadur Deuba was elected as party president for four years.
Though the meeting of the party’s present and former office-bearers decided to revise the dates to hold the general assembly, the faction led by Ram Chandra Poudel doubts it will take place on the stipulated dates.
“We have revised the deadline to submit the list of active membership by July 4 and the party president will hand over the final list to the central elections committee on July 8. Only then can we say whether the general convention will happen by the stipulated date,” Poudel said.
A meeting of the party on Saturday decided to defer the general convention by nine days and agreed on new dates to hold the local and district convention after Covid pandemic delayed the distribution of the party’s active membership, according to leaders.
The issue of active membership, its distribution and finalisation is crucial because they are the primary voters and their vote and strength can entirely affect the election results.
“Though we have not decided how to hold the general convention, it is almost certain that holding a gathering in Kathmandu or any other venues won’t be possible. Voters and representatives will vote from their respective districts and other designated places to lower the risk of Covid-19 infection,” said Poudel.
Purna Bahadur Khadka, general secretary of the party, told the Post that the party has not decided whether the general assembly will be held virtual or in person.
“To take a final call on the proposed general assembly including its date, settling down the row over distribution of active membership of the party and new schedule to conclude the local and district level assemblies, we have called a meeting of the party’s Central Working Committee on June 17,” Khadka said.
The present bodies of the parties from ward levels to central committee have already extended their term and mandate by one and half years, as allowed by the party charter and constitution of the country, after the party could not hold its periodic general convention within four years.
Deuba has cited different reasons for the delayed general convention, such as Covid-19 pandemic, inability to distribute the active membership on time and entry of leaders from other political forces like Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, who used to be the leader of Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum, and Sunil Thapa, former leader of Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal.
As per the new schedule, all districts shall submit the list of active membership to the party headquarters by July 4 and the party will hand over the list of active membership to the party’s Central Elections Commission on July 8.
Similarly, the conventions of various local bodies will be completed by July 31. In those districts that have only one electoral constituency, their conventions will be completed by August 4. In districts that have two or more than two electoral constituencies, the conventions will be completed by August 8.
Provincial conventions in seven provinces will be completed by August 17 and 18, according to the new proposal.
This revised schedule shall be approved by the party’s central working committee meeting.
Though the Poudel faction has cast doubt over the general convention, Deuba said that he is committed to hold the general convention.
“We are committed and so is the party president to hold the general convention on the stipulated dates,” Prakash Sharan Mahat, party’s joint secretary said. “As for the modality of the convention, we will decide after considering the Covid-19 situation.”