Congress’ Koirala camp blasts Deuba for poor leadership, government irregularitiesDeuba camp dismisses charges as a pressure tactic aimed at securing more positions for dissidents in party bodies.
Close to one year as prime minister and six months after his reelection as party president, Sher Bahadur Deuba has found himself in a tight spot inside the Nepali Congress. The rival camp of the party led by Shekhar Koirala has started building pressure on him, questioning both of his roles.
Koirala lost to Deuba in the election for party president during the party’s general convention last December, hence he represents a rival camp in the Congress.
Deuba is now facing charges that he has failed to accommodate the rival camp.
On Thursday, the Koirala camp called a meeting of its camp and evaluated Deuba’s performance as prime minister and party president.
Deuba has yet to give full shape to the party central working committee and parliamentary committee. General conventions of several sister organisations of the party are pending.
According to leaders who attended Thursday’s meeting, Koirala said that it is unfortunate that the prime minister has not taken corrective measures even though the country's economy is in a quagmire.
He also questioned the intent of Prime Minister Deuba for not taking action even when Finance Minister Janardan Sharma was accused of manipulating the budget and accused of irregularities.
Similarly, senior Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Poudel, has accused the government of conspiring to hand over the Nepal Oil Corporation to private investors.
“We are hearing that the government is preparing to hand over the Nepal Oil Corporation to some private company,” Poudel said while addressing a function in Kathmandu. “I need an answer from the prime minister.”
At the meeting of Koirala-camp where Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Dilendra Badu was also present, issues related to the government and the party and role of Deuba were discussed.
“Deuba is visibly kind and soft towards the opposition but he behaves with us in a ruthless manner,” another leader said, adding, “We know he is busy but he cannot shut his mouth, eyes and ears when all these irregularities are taking right under his nose. If Deuba fails to act, it will cost us the upcoming elections.”
All contemporary issues, from the crisis faced by the country to the economy and foreign policy issues were discussed at the meeting, which also criticised the prime minister for his poor performance and repeated violation of the party charter, according to party leader Chandra Bhandari.
Over a dozen leaders of the Koirala camp including General Secretary Gagan Thapa were present at the meeting.
But Deuba camp has termed the meeting a pressure tactic aimed at securing more of Koirala camp members on the party’s central committee, parliamentary committee, and other departments.
“Since elections are coming up, the Koirala camp fears that the Deuba-dominated 25-member parliamentary committee could deny them enough election tickets. That’s why they are pressing for fair representation in the party bodies,” said a leader close to Deuba requesting anonymity.
Deuba has yet to appoint the treasurer and remaining members in the 168-strong Central Working Committee (CWC). Also, the party has not formed 28 various departments. According to Section 60 of the party charter, all departments, committees, and other entities of the party should be formed within six months from the general convention.
Out of the 168 members in the Central Working Committee, Deuba needs to appoint 21 members. On January 28, Deuba had formed a 37-member central work execution committee but it is short of nine members.
“Deuba is conspicuously sidelining us so we are trying to remind him to follow the party charter and stop humiliating party dissidents,” Sanjaya Gautam, another Nepali Congress leader, said.
Meanwhile, the party has called a meeting of the central working committee for July 11.
According to leaders, the dissident faction’s gathering will continue on Friday also.
Koirala has urged Prime Minister Deuba to work in the interest of the nation and the people.
“The prime minister should not remain mute spectator to the blatant economic deviations in the run-up to the elections,” said Koirala. “His inaction could cost the party and the political system dearly.”