Deuba accused of nominating only supporters to Congress central committeeAmong 13 nominated, just two, or mere 15 percent, are women.
Nepali Congress statute allows the party president to nominate 33 members in the Central Working Committee. Among 154 members in the committee, 121 including 13 office-bearers have been elected by the 14th General Convention leaving the party President Sher Bahadur Deuba to nominate others.
Enjoying the authority, Deuba on Saturday and Sunday nominated 13 party leaders, most of them defeated in the contest for office bearer positions. Ram Chandra Poudel, Prakash Man Singh, Bimalendra Nidhi, Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Prakash Sharan Mahat, Narayan Khadka, Uma Regmi, Sujata Koirala and Min Bishwakarma were nominated to the central committee on Saturday. He picked Jeevan Shahi, Kalyan Gurung and Pradeep Poudel on Sunday.
However, Deuba has faced criticism for promoting factionalism by selecting only his supporters and those from his factions in the committee. Singh, Nidhi and Gurung had challenged Deuba in the first phase of the contest for party presidency. But they all supported him in the run-0ff ensuring his victory over Shekhar Koirala. Gachhadar was defeated in the race for vice-chair, Poudel and Mahat for general secretary and Shahi for deputy general secretary from the Deuba panel. Sitaula stood for Deuba from the start while Koirala, who contested for vice president from Singh’s panel, came to his support in the second phase of election.
Khadka, Regmi and Bishwakarma, all from Deuba panel, hadn’t contested for any position. “He [Deuba] has emerged as a powerful president from the general convention but his nomination shows he is still willing to become a leader of a faction,” Chandra Bhandari, who had contested for vice president from the Koirala panel but lost, told the Post. “He is losing an opportunity to end factionalism in the party.”
Bhandari had received 1,580 votes while Koirala, who was nominated in the party by the central committee, got just 644 votes. But, he hasn't found a place in the committee. While Deuba nominated [Pradeep] Poudel and Mahat, who were defeated in the contest for general secretary, he avoided Minendra Rijal, who lost the contest for the same position from the Koirala faction.
The dissidents in the ruling party also claim that Deuba has not just promoted factionalism but also disregarded the provision of inclusivity, envisioned in the party statute, in the nomination process. As per clause 21 (10) of the Congress statute, the party president can nominate 33 persons from among those who have unceasingly remained the party’s active members for the last 10 years including one third women. The party president is entitled to adopt the principle of inclusivity to ensure that people with disabilities, minority groups and backward regions are represented in the central committee.
However, among the 13 nominated by Deuba, just two or a mere 15 percent are women.
“The more accommodative and inclusive the nomination process, the better for the party and the president,” Badri Pandey, a deputy general secretary of the party, told the Post. “Sadly this is not the case so far.”
Leaders close to Deuba, however, say as there are still 20 members remaining to be nominated, and the party president will make his maximum efforts to accommodate the leaders from all factions. “The nomination process hasn’t ended yet,” Nain Singh Mahar, a Central Working Committee member, told the Post. “I believe leaders, no matter which faction they belong to, will find a place in the committee based on their contribution to the party.”