Nepali Congress hands over the responsibility of resolving internal dispute to its two general secretariesIssues concerning the 14th general convention to be decided by the party’s Central Working Committee on Thursday.
An informal meeting of senior Nepali Congress leaders on Sunday decided to hand over the responsibility of resolving the internal party dispute to its two general secretaries—Shashanka Koirala and Purna Bahadur Khadka.
The two general secretaries will sit together, find a consensus and come up with a common position paper including concerns raised by senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel, Gagan Thapa, a Central Working Committee member, told the Post.
“This is a positive development towards resolving the differences inside the party.”
Sunday’s meeting also agreed to defer the meeting of the party’s Central Working Committee to Thursday. The meeting was scheduled to take place on Monday.
“Since we are looking to resolve the differences, the scheduled meeting of the Central Working Committee has been postponed to Thursday,” senior leader Ram Sharan Mahat said.
Besides unresolved intra-party disputes, the CWC meeting was also put off because party Vice President Bimalendra Nidhi and senior leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula are currently in home isolation after their security guards tested positive for Covid-19.
Party leaders are seeking a common ground on a 16-point memorandum submitted by senior party leader Poudel in September.
In the memorandum, Poudel has alleged that party President Sher Bahadur Deuba went against the party’s charter and issued a series of decisions in order to influence the 14th general convention and demanded that the party leadership roll back its controversial decisions.
As Deuba has refused to address some of the demands made by Poudel, the series of meetings have so far failed to make much headway, leaders from both the Deuba and the Poudel told the Post.
Mahat, who belongs to the Poudel camp, said that they want the Nepali Congress to function as per the party charter.
“No one should influence the general convention and any preparations regarding the general convention should be transparent. We have yet to resolve some differences, although some partial agreements have been reached during recent meetings,” said Mahat.
The Poudel faction has opposed Deuba’s unilateral decisions including the formation of over 20 party departments and uneven distribution of active membership to influence the general convention.
Since Poudel submitted his memorandum on September 28, the leaders from the two rival factions have held several meetings to resolve the dispute, without any avail.
During these meetings, Deuba had made clear that while he was ready to address some of Poudel’s concerns, he was not going to roll back his decision to form the party departments.
The main sore point is the distribution of active membership. Active memberships were disproportionately distributed at Deuba’s behest to the newcomers in districts like Dadeldhura, Kailali, Rasuwa and Sarlahi, according to the Poudel faction.
Mahesh Achrya, a leader close to the Poudel faction, said the central leadership was directly involved in the distribution of active party membership in some places.
The Poudel faction has claimed that over 10,000 active memberships were doled out to influence the general convention in Deuba’s favour.
Another bone of contention in the party is the failure of the central leadership to set up interim structure of the party in all 77 districts and local levels including at ward committee.
As per the federal set-up, the party has to form interim committees in all 77 districts but it has not done so in nine districts of Province 2 that was supposed to complete by July 25.
The central elections committee was tasked to complete the formation of interim committees in districts but due to the intervention by the Deuba camp, formation of the interim committees in
Province 2 could not be completed, leaders from the Poudel faction say.
In Sunday’s meeting, the senior Congress leaders also discussed the prospect of deferring the upcoming general convention from February to April/ May or later in August/ September of 2021.
Due to Covid-19 pandemic, there is strong opinion inside the party to defer the general convention which was first proposed by senior leader Sitaula.
“The general understanding among the leaders is that the party’s general convention is unlikely to take place on the scheduled date and thus it should be deferred by two to three months. The decision on this matter will be taken by the CWC meeting,” Mahat said.
General Secretary Khadka said issues concerning the general convention will be decided by Thursday’s CWC meeting.
He said the informal meetings that were held to resolve the differences among senior party leaders, particularly concerning the 14th general convention, had concluded.
“We will prepare a paper agreed on by both sides and present it at the Central Working Committee meeting on Thursday,” Khadka told the Post.