NCP leadership takes unilateral decision as it picks National Assembly candidatesThe party leadership failed to live up to its recent commitment to following due process, accuse leaders.
A secretariat meeting of the ruling Nepal Communist Party has picked 16 candidates for the upcoming National Assembly election, but by doing so, the party has once again violated due process.
According to party leaders, candidates for the National Assembly should be nominated by the party’s provincial committees before they are endorsed by the secretariat. The 16 candidates, however, were unilaterally selected by the secretariat.
Although the top leadership of the party had committed to following due process in the recently concluded Standing Committee meeting, party leaders say that they’ve failed to do so. During the meeting, in a joint political document, the two party chairs had expressed their commitment to running the party through the due process while self-criticising themselves for not doing so in the past.
“The selection of candidates for the National Assembly shows that the leadership has stepped back from its decision in the recent Standing Committee meeting,” said Mani Thapa, a Standing Committee member. “Top leaders of the party had vowed to follow procedures, but that did not last very long.”
The party’s provincial committee chiefs have also objected to the secretariat’s decision, saying that it is their right to nominate leaders for the National Assembly. Satya Narayan Mandal, in charge of the Province 2 committee, said that he was not even asked to select nominations from the province.
“It’s common sense for all leaders and cadres that the party follow procedure and the concerned committees be allowed to recommend names,” said Mandal. “But the leaders didn’t bother to ask the provinces to nominate anyone.”
When asked how the party secretariat could violate the party procedure of decision making while selecting candidates, spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said that the party had no time to ask the concerned committees for their recommendations as the deadline for candidates to file their nominations is 3pm on Monday. The election itself has been scheduled for January 23. National Assembly members are selected through an election, which has been scheduled for January 23 for all seven provinces. The Electoral College, which elects members of the National Assembly, includes the chiefs and deputies of the local levels and members of the provincial assemblies.
Senior party leader and former prime minister Jhala Nath Khanal, who is a member of the secretariat, admitted that the secretariat should have taken recommendations from the provincial committees but also blamed the time constraint.
“As per the procedure, we should have taken suggestions and recommendations from the concerned provincial committees but we were unable to do that this time around,” said Khanal. “We were running out of time.”
As many as 19 National Assembly positions—eight from the Nepal Communist Party, seven from the Nepali Congress, two from Rastriya Janata Party, and one from Samajbadi Party—will be vacant from March 4 as their two-year term comes to an end. As per constitutional provisions, their positions must be filled 35 days before the end of their term.
Among the 59 National Assembly members, 56 were elected—eight members each from the seven provinces—while three were nominated by the President. The terms—two, four or six years—of all members are decided by a lottery system.
Another Standing Committee member who did not wish to be named said that the self-critical decision of the top leadership did not even stand for two weeks because Co-chairs KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal have gotten used to making decisions by themselves.
“Why should even leaders defeated in the polls two years ago receive positions in the National Assembly when there are so many leaders who are idle?” the Standing Committee member told the Post.
According to spokesperson Shrestha, the nine-member secretariat has picked Indu Gautam (Woman), Gopi Achhami (Dalit) and Devendra Dahal (Others) from Province 1; Tulasa Dahal (Woman) and Radheshyam Paswan (Dalit) from Province 2; Ganga Belbase (Woman) and Beduram Bhusal (Others) from Province 3; Bhagawati Neupane (Woman) and Narayan Kaji Shrestha (Others) from Gandaki Province; Bimala Ghimire (Woman), Jag Prasad Sharma (Differently-abled and Minorities) and Gopal Bhattarai (Others) from Province 5; Sumitra BC (Woman) and Maya Prasad Sharma (Others) from Karnali Province; and Sharada Bhatta (Woman) and Taraman Swanr (Others) from Sudurpaschim Province.
Among the 16 candidates, a few of them, including Shrestha himself and Jag Prasad Sharma, were defeated in the previous polls.