Dispute surfaces over NC order of precedenceSome Nepali Congress leaders have expressed their reservations over the order of precedence of the party’s central members.
Some Nepali Congress leaders have expressed their reservations over the order of precedence of the party’s central members.
The battle for seniority within the NC came to the fore when leaders reportedly tussled over seating while meeting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee during his recent visit to Nepal.
According to the hierarchical structure released by the party right after the NC’s general convention in March and before its first central committee meeting, the office bearers are at the top of the order while the rest are listed on the basis of their seniority.
But when NC leaders met Mukherjee on Thursday, Treasurer Sita Devi Yadav is said to have created a “slight commotion”. Senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel was seated beside party President Sher Bahadur Deuba, followed by Gopalman Shrestha, Ram Sharan Mahat, Prakash Man Singh, General Secretary Shashank Koirala, Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Gyanendra Bahadur Karki. But Yadav, who is said to have entered late, demanded a seat beside Poudel. She pulled a chair from the back and seated herself between Poudel and Shrestha, much to the “amusement” of the visiting dignitaries.
“It was a slightly embarrassing moment when our leader was more worried about where she is seated rather than the conversation we would have with the Indian president. There was a moment of awkward silence,” said an NC leader. Other leaders were also not seated as per their precedence.
The dissatisfaction first came to light when a few of the leaders opted to stay away from signing the minutes of the party’s central committee meetings. Shrestha, Mahat, Kul Bahadur Gurung, Arjun Narsingh KC and Ramesh Lekhak, in particular, are said to be miffed at the party’s order of precedence.
Shrestha, who was the party’s vice-president when the Nepali Congress united with the NC Democratic in 2007, was given the highest rank after office bearers by the late NC president Sushil Koirala. He was also the acting president of the breakaway faction then led by Deuba.
“I am the senior-most leader in the party after Deuba and Poudel. How can two former general secretaries—Prakash Man Singh and Krishna Prasad Sitaula—be ahead of a former vice-president [him]?” Shrestha questioned. He has refused to sign minutes until Deuba settles what he calls the “illogical line of hierarchy.”
As the oldest central committee member of the party, Gurung also feels he should be up the ranks, right below the office bearers. Mahat and KC too have their own reasons to protest the order. KC considers himself senior, having been the joint general secretary before Mahat. In the new precedence, KC is placed right below Mahat.
Mahat, who is placed below the erstwhile treasurer and the joint general secretary—Chitra Lekha Yadav and Purna Bahadur Khadka—considers himself more senior. Also, Lekhak, elected to the central committee for the first time in March, feels injustice to be ranked below some of the relatively recent former student wing presidents.
Asked if the party had any plans to address the grievances, Chief Secretary of the party headquarters Krishna Prasad Poudel said Deuba is ready to address the grievances. “It’s true that there has been some fault in the order of precedence. Our president will do something about it soon.”
Party’s Top 15
Sher Bahadur Deuba
Ram Chandra Poudel
Prakash Man Singh
Krishna Prasad Sitaula
Kul Bahadur Gurung
Khum Bahadur Khadka
Chitra Lekha Yadav
Purna Bahadur Khadka
Ram Sharan Mahat
Arjun Narsingh KC
Bal Bahadur KC