Kathmandu, July 13
A meeting of the establishment faction of the Nepali Congress party today decided to follow the provisions of the party statute for holding its next general convention.
This means that the party will have to extend the tenure of the current leadership by one year.
The NC statute stipulates that the party’s leadership will have a four-year tenure which can be extended by one year under special circumstances. Leaders close to Deuba said the party needed to form interim mechanisms to start the process of the 14th General Convention and hence it would be impossible to hold the next GC within the stipulated time.
Vice-president of NC Bimalendra Nidhi told THT that if the party had to follow the statute, then the next GC could not be held by mid-March, 2020, when the tenure of the current leadership ends.
As per the party’s statute, working committees will have to be formed at lower levels, including provincial level, and that process could take at least six months to complete. “We do not want to prolong the tenure of the leadership beyond the regular tenure and we are ready to declare the date for the GC if other leaders want us to do that, but if we do so, we will have to ignore the party statute which was ratified by the Central Working Committee,” Nidhi argued.
Another NC leader Ramesh Lekhak, who is close to Deuba, said it was understood that the party could not hold its next GC within four years. “Almost all past presidents, including Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Girija Prasad Koirala and Sushil Koirala held the party’s GC in the fifth year. So there is nothing unusual about holding the GC in the fifth year,” he said and added that the party leaders, who were opposing the proposed extension, should not have okayed provisions in the party statute related to formation of interim mechanisms.
“Before we hold the next GC, we need to ratify new regulations, distribute active cadre membership cards, update the data of active members and then declare the date for the GC,” Lekhak said and added that this process would definitely delay the the next GC. “This means we will have to hold the next GC in in the fifth year, but I am not in favour of extending another six months as per the constitutional provisions,” he added.
Senior leader Ramchandra Paudel, who leads one of the factions in the NC, said that establishment faction’s decision to extend the general convention deadline would cause great political loss to the party. “We need to hold the GC on time and make preparations for the next elections,” he said, adding, “The party needed to follow a clear timeline for holding the next GC.”
A version of this article appears in print on July 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.