Internal dispute in Nepali Congress’ student wing hinders Free Student Union electionInfighting in the Congress party has tricked down to its student wing.
The Tribhuvan University last month decided to hold the Free Student Union polls on February 26. It has directed all its affiliated colleges to start the preparations for the biennial elections that elect the students’ representatives.
However, Nepal Student Union (NSU), the student wing of Nepali Congress, is not ready to participate in the elections until it gets new leadership. The selection of the new leadership in the NSU has been affected owing to the internal feud within the party.
The student wing of the main opposition party is headless since the tenure of its Chairman Nain Singh Mahar expired last year.
The dissident faction within the NSU, which is close to party’s senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel, had been demanding an age bar for the student leaders.
A revision to the statute of the student wing has set down 32 years as the maximum age to qualify for the leadership. However, as the party leadership mulls to select an ad hoc committee to hold the election, it is not abiding by the age limit.
Rajib Dhungana, who is already above 45 years, is all set to get the chairmanship for six months with a responsibility to hold the elections for the leadership of the NSU. He is close to party President Sher Bahadur Deuba. The student leaders from the Poudel faction, however, are standing against the plan of the party. They have been demanding to select the new leadership through the elections based on the provisions in the statute. They have been resorting to the protests in the party headquarters in Sanepa for the last 42 days. The reservation from the party is delaying the selection of the ad hoc committee, which will also affect the FSU elections in the colleges under the Tribhuvan University.
A team of the NSU led by Dhungana met Dr Dharma Kant Banskota, vice-chancellor at the university, and asked him to wait for the FSU elections unless the Nepali Congress selects the new team for its student wing. “We have requested him to wait for the FSU polls unless our union gets its leadership,” he told the Post.
The officials at the university say they have been asked to wait for some time, however, they are yet to decide on the matter.
“The NSU has asked us to wait for some time, but I am not sure what will happen,” Ganga Bahadur Thapa, chief of the Student Welfare Division in the Tribhuvan University, told the Post. The FSU polls are scheduled to be held in 62 constituent colleges of the university and dozens of other community colleges. There are around 1,100 colleges affiliated with the oldest and largest varsity of the country.
Dhungana said Banskota also had a meeting with Deuba on Tuesday where they discussed holding off the FSU election process until NSU’s problem is resolved.
Nawaraj Tripathi, an NSU leader, is on a fast-onto-death protest at the Nepali Congress headquarters for the past three days demanding to select the leadership in the union based on the statute.
The dissident faction with the union has decided to start the protest at the district offices of the party across the country starting Thursday.
“We will continue the relay hunger strike until the party leadership agrees to abide by the statute,” Kundan Kafle, former general secretary, of the party told the Post.