NCP amends party statute to make Bamdev Gautam vice-chairThough some questioned the rationale behind amending the statute for one individual, the proposal was endorsed unanimously.
Tika R Pradhan
A Secretariat meeting held on August 16 last year had decided to elevate Gautam, who was selected to lead the party’s Organisation Department, to the post of vice-chair. But for that, the party statute needed to be amended.
“The Central Committee unanimously endorsed the party’s proposal to amend the party statute,” said Hemraj Bhandari, a central committee member. “The amendment has paved the way for Gautam to become the vice-chair.”
Gautam lost the 2017 parliamentary elections from Bardiya-1. He had been demanding “some concrete” role in the party. In October 2018, the party had even planned to make Ram Bir Manandhar, a lawmaker from Kathmandu-7, resign so that Gautam could be fielded from the constituency. Gautam had even explored other options, including Dolpa.
After Rabindra Adhikari died in a helicopter crash, Kaski-2 went vacant. There were talks about Gautam contesting the by-election, held on November 30, from the constituency.
But later, Bidhya Bhattarai, Adhikari’s wife, contested the election and won.
Though the Central Committee unanimously agreed to amend the party statute to make way for Gautam’s elevation to the post of vice-chair, concerns were raised earlier by party members for giving a lot of importance to one individual.
During the group discussions, many leaders had questioned the rationale behind amending the party statute for the sake of an individual.
“Most of the leaders were against the idea of amending the party statute for an individual,” said Rajendra Rai, a central committee member. “But they did not object to the proposal, saying that such incidents happen during the transition phase of the party and that must not be repeated.”
Despite losing elections, Gautam has not hidden his desire—to become the prime minister.
When the ruling Nepal Communist Party was selecting candidates for the National Assembly, for which election was held on January 23, Gautam had refused to contest, saying he wanted a constitutional amendment to pave the way for a National Assembly member to become the prime minister.
Gautam in the past had helped co-chair and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli rise in the party, but after losing the 2017 elections, he had alleged that the Oli camp had its hand in his defeat. However, in the changing internal dynamics, Oli managed to woo Gautam, which resulted in his elevation to the post of vice-chair.
But of late, according to party leaders, Gautam is in Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s fold.
With the latest amendment to the party statute, the Nepal Communist Party will have a 441-member Central Committee with two chairs, two senior leaders, one vice-chair, one spokesperson and a general secretary. Madhav Kumar Nepal has become a senior leader after Jhala Nath Khanal.
Rai said nobody knows what the party will achieve that it has not so far in the absence of a vice-chair.