Congress camps close ranks with revision to proportional candidacyKoirala faction, which had demanded fairness in candidate selection, gets 35 percent share.
The Nepali Congress has submitted a revised list of its candidates under the proportional representation category for the House of Representatives and provincial assembly elections scheduled for November 20.
While correcting the list, the party has also addressed the demands of its dissident faction led by Shekhar Koirala, who had threatened not to cooperate with Congress candidates if the party establishment didn’t accommodate enough leaders from his panel.
While the Koirala-led faction had been demanding 40 percent candidates from their side, they settled for around 35 percent after day-long negotiations with the leaders close to Deuba.
Minister for Information and Communication Technology Gyanendra Bahadur Karki said they had selected the candidates on a “win-win basis” for both the sides.
According to Bhupendra Jung Shahi, a central committee member from the Koirala panel, a compromise deal has been reached with the party’s establishment faction.
Another leader from the Koirala faction said: “The final list was prepared not as per the wish of the dissident faction, nor is it solely in favour of the group led by the party president.”
Congress Chief Secretary Krishna Prasad Paudel submitted the amended list to the Election Commission on Sunday, the last day to amend the closed list of PR candidates submitted earlier.
The Deuba faction was forced to allocate more seats to the Koirala panel after the latter upped the ante. Some leaders from the dissident faction had even threatened to field rebel candidates against the party’s official candidates.
The commission has set October 9 as the day to nominate candidates under the first-past-the-post category.
A meeting of Congress office bearers was held in Baluwatar until late night on Saturday to revise the closed list in a bid to address the demands of the Koirala camp.
The meeting came amid fears of possible rebellion and defection by party leaders.
While amending the list, the party establishment was also ready to rearrange the priority order. Names of Arju Rana Deuba, spouse of the prime minister, and Manju Khand, spouse of Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand, who topped the list, have been placed in lower order.
When asked about the rearrangement, Minister Karki said it was done according to the leaders’ seniority.
Also, Prakash Sharan Mahat, Bimalendra Nidhi, Pharmulla Mansoor and Jivan Pariyar, among others, who were listed on top faced reordering to give equal importance to candidates from the Koirala faction. The order is important as the chance of getting elected under the PR category is high for the names on the top.
However, the names of candidates are not yet fully known as the list becomes public only when the commission publishes it on October 8.
Earlier Arzu Rana Deuba held the number one spot. The top priority accorded to the wives of the prime minister and the home minister had further riled the dissident faction.
Arzu became a lawmaker under the PR category in 2008. In 2017, she lost direct election in Kailali-5.
Koirala camp had accused the party establishment of sidelining candidates from the rival faction even in areas they are strong. Koirala supporters had been criticising the leadership in public.
Govinda Pokharel, a central committee member, said he will not solicit votes for Durga Poudel from Rastriya Janamorcha in Pyuthan, reasoning that she was not as capable as him. Pokharel, an aspirant from the same constituency, has openly opposed the electoral alliance in party meetings.