NC president, senior leaders irked by Sujata’s ‘treatment’Several Nepali Congress leaders are said to be irked by former deputy prime minister Sujata Koirala’s treatment while inviting them to a function organised by the GP Foundation to mark the birth anniversary of the late Girija Prasad Koirala on Thursday, with many of them eventually boycotting the event.
Several Nepali Congress leaders are said to be irked by former deputy prime minister Sujata Koirala’s treatment while inviting them to a function organised by the GP Foundation to mark the birth anniversary of the late Girija Prasad Koirala on Thursday, with many of them eventually boycotting the event.
Among others, NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and General Secretary Shashank Koirala were notably absent from the programme in the Capital for “not getting their due respect.” Deuba stayed back home claiming to have an upset stomach, while Shashank was also not present despite reportedly being in the Capital.
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli attended the memorial programme as the chief guest, while senior politicians including NC leader Ram Chandra Poudel and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik Chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar were among the guests at the event organised by Sujata, daughter of the late NC leader and the GP Foundation chair.
In recent times, Sujata has been very vocal about her appreciation for PM Oli for his “courage in improving relations with neighbouring China and steps taken in development works”.
According to an insider, Deuba chose to boycott the event having been invited neither as the chief guest nor a special guest, but rather only as an ordinary guest. “If the current NC president is not invited with due respect at an event to remember our late NC president Girija, while a rival party leader is invited as the chief guest, why would he go?” the source questioned. “Had he only been invited as a special guest along with Oli, I’m sure Deuba would have gone to pay his due respect to our late leader.”
Shashank, the son of prominent late NC leader BP Koirala, opting to stay away from the event, according to the insider, has clearly exposed the frosty relationship between the Koiralas of late. Each of the Koiralas in top ranks of the party—Sujata, Shekhar and Shashank—claims to be the “heir of the Koirala family”. During the party’s 13th general convention in March, the tussle became evident when, despite coming from the same former establishment faction, Sujata had also announced her candidacy for presidency along with Ram Chandra Poudel.
However, even though they eventually fought elections from the same camp, the relationship between the trio over “seniority” has turned sour once again. “Even though Shashank and Shekhar have a decent enough relationship, Sujata no longer has a special affinity with the duo,” the source said. “She actually was quite reluctant to invite them at the function.” The NC general secretary was not available for comments.
NC leader Ram Hari Khatiwada, who attended the event, was not quite sure why Sujata chose Oli over Deuba as the chief guest, or if Deuba was instead invited as a special guest. “Maybe since Girija was like a father figure to the whole nation, Sujatadi thought that the programme should not be confined to NC leaders and cadres only,” said Khatiwada.
In his speech on Thursday, even though Oli accepted Girija as a “leader of peace and democracy who saved the nation”, he satirically acknowledged the absence of some of the senior NC leaders. “When you don’t respect your elder anymore, what’s the need to follow the ideological path he laid out?” questioned Oli. He was referring to the claims that some of the NC leaders had not given Girija his due respect by opting out of the event.
Responding to Oli’s remarks on Friday, Khatiwada suggested that the prime minister solve the deeply engraved factionalism within his CPN-UML before he talks about the NC. “As the head of the government, he needs to be talking about what he can do to the people or what has been done for them until now. Passing such snide remarks to us shows the immaturity of the prime minister,” Khatiwada said.