Congress forms 37-member central work execution committeeAs per party charter, the central work execution committee exercises the authority of the Central Working Committee, but decisions taken by CWEC have to be approved by the CWC.
A meeting of the Central Working Committee of the Nepali Congress on Friday formed a 37-member “central work execution committee”.
This is the third Central Working Committee meeting of the party after the 14th general convention held in December last year.
Article 23 of the party charter envisions the central work execution committee.
As per the party charter, the central work execution committee (CWEC) exercises the authority of the Central Working Committee, but the decisions taken by CWEC have to be approved by the CWC.
According to the decision made by the meeting, which was held virtually due to Covid-related restrictions, party President and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, party vice presidents Purna Bahadur Khadka and Dhanraj Gurung, and general secretaries Gagan Thapa and Bishwa Prakash Sharma have been included in the CWEC.
All joint general secretaries—Mahalaxmi Upadhyay, Jeevan Pariyar, Bhisma Raj Angdambe, Kishor Singh Rathor, Mahendra Yadav, Farmullah Mansoor, Umakant Chaudary and Badri Pandey are also members of the CWEC.
Senior party leaders Ram Chandra Poudel, Bimalendra Nidhi, Prakash Man Singh, Shashank Koirala, Shekhar Koirala, Prakash Sharan Mahat, and Gopalman Shrestha are other members of the CWEC.
Additional members are Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Chitra Lekha Yadav, Ram Sharan Mahat, Arjun Narsingh KC, Sunil Bahadur Thapa, Bal Bahadur Thapa, Bal Bahadur KC, Bal Krishna Khand, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, Uma Regmi, Ramesh Rijal, Narayan Khadka, Jip Chhiring Lama, NP Saud, Sujata Koirala, Jeevan Bahadur Shahi and Anand Prasad Dhungana.
Deuba, who has the majority in the CWC, also controls a majority in the CWEC with around 80 percent of members from his faction.
Besides the office bearers of the party, Friday’s meeting picked four members from the faction led by Shekhar Koirala, who was defeated by Deuba in the recently concluded 14th general convention. The three others inducted to the committee from the faction are Ram Sharan Mahat, Arjun Narsingh KC and Bal Bahadur KC.
“As per the party charter, the nomination should follow a consultative process but that didn't happen due to the Covid pandemic,” said Arjun Narsingh KC.
As per Clause 24 of the party charter, if the central working committee is unable to meet, then the central work execution committee can make decisions.
“The meeting of the work execution committee convenes in the interval between two meetings of the party central committee,” Clause 24 (1) of the party charter states. But the decision taken by the work execution committee needs to be endorsed by the next Central Working Committee meeting.
The work execution committee also monitors the performance of the party’s departments and parliamentary party and discusses parliament-related issues with the various parliamentary committees formed by the party. The meeting of the work execution committee is held every month, as per the party charter.
During the meeting, party President Deuba had instructed General Secretary Thapa to propose the nominees for the central work execution committee.
Then Thapa asked members to approve the nominees and the members abided, according to one central working committee member.
Deuba was reelected party president from the 14th general convention in a runoff between him and Shekhar Koirala after neither of them could secure 50 percent of votes in the first round of elections.
The Congress CWEC is set to hold discussions among other issues on local elections which have become a hotly debated issue ever since Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal proposed delaying them to a later date by holding the parliamentary elections in April-May.
The Election Commission has recommended April-May for local elections.
The proposal so far has been discussed only among the ruling coalition partners and in the high-level political coordination committee, a mechanism formed by the five-party alliance to “assist the government”.
Some key issues including the local elections have triggered a debate inside the party. After the central working committee meeting, four office bearers of the party—vice presidents Khadka and Gurung, and general secretaries Thapa and Sharma—had urged Deuba to ensure that the local elections are held on schedule in April-May.
Deuba, Khadka, Gurung, Thapa and Sharma participated in the virtual meeting from the party headquarters at Sanepa.
“We have urged the prime minister to make sure that the local elections are held in April-May as recommended by the Election Commission,” one office bearer requesting anonymity said, adding, “We have also reminded the party president that any delay in local elections would damage the image of the party.”
But Deuba is in a fix.
He currently leads a five-party coalition government of the Congress, Maoist Centre, CPN (Unified Socialist), Janata Samajbadi Party and Rastriya Janamorcha. At least two coalition partners—Maoist Centre and the CPN (Unified Socialist)—want to delay the local elections.
“The meeting of the ruling alliance is scheduled for Saturday. We have urged Deuba to convince the coalition to hold local elections in April-May. But Deuba did not give any definitive answer,” the office bearer said.
After Friday’s meeting, General Secretary Thapa told reporters that the proposal of some ruling alliance members to defer the local elections is against the constitution.
The ruling alliance recently held consultations with a select group of constitutional and legal experts who have advised that the legal provisions that contradict the constitution should be amended if the local elections are to be delayed.
Congress leaders said the newly-formed CWEC will take up the matter. There are also calls inside the party to discuss the proposed deferral of local elections at the Central Working Committee.
“The Prime Minister should not bypass the party central working committee,” said Arjun Narsingh KC. “Such an important decision cannot be taken by the high-level political coordination committee.”
The ruling alliance has formed an 11-member high-level coordination committee led by senior Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel to assist the government.
“Congress joined the government to bring the constitution and the parliamentary system back on track. If we keep on destroying the letter and spirit of the constitution and weakening the institution and constitutional bodies, we will be no different from others,” said KC.
“Before taking any important decision, the party should follow the party charter. The meeting of a handful of people on the coordination committee should not be making important decisions.”