NC leaders in race for party presidency step up campaigns

Kathmandu, December 30

With the 13th National General Convention of the party approaching fast, top leaders of the Nepali Congress have intensified their campaigns in the race for party leadership.

Sushil Koirala, Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ram Chandra Paudel, the top three contenders for the post of party president, are busy visiting districts to garner support in their favour.

Koirala was in Pokhara with Shashanka Koirala and Chandra Mohan Yadav today and is scheduled to visit Syangja tomorrow and Parbat on Friday, while Deuba returned to Kathmandu two days ago after completing his visit to the far-western region. He is scheduled to visit eastern districts, including Biratnagar, in a couple of days.

Similarly, Paudel today addressed a programme in Arghakhanchi and is scheduled to address a gathering in Rupandehi tomorrow.

Although the three leaders have not formally announced their candidacy for the party’s top post, they have already instructed their supporters to intensify campaigns in their support.

Second-rung leaders, including Prakash Man Singh, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Arjun Narsingh KC, Ram Sharna Mahat, Shekhar Koirala, Sujata Koirala, Narahari Acharya, Gopal Man Shrestha, Bimalendra Nidhi, Purna Bahadur Khadka, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, Balkrishna Khand, Prakash Sharna Mahat and NP Saud, who are the aspirants of the party’s office bearers’ position have also intensified their campaigns.

“The top three leaders have already begun their internal homework for the post of party presidency. Second-rung leaders have also kept themselves busy campaigning for support at the grassroots level,” said Krishna Chandra Nepali, who is close to Koirala.

After the district-level conventions on February 8, one can get a rough picture of who might secure more votes in the NGC. The composition of around 3,000 National General Convention representatives to be elected from district level would give a rough estimate about who would lead the party next.

Deuba, addressing a function in Kathmandu area-2 today, said the convention should give party a new lease of life. “We need a leadership that is able to tackle new challenges and establish the party as the force of change,” Deuba said.

Meanwhile, Paudel, addressing a programme in Arghakhanchi today, said he had not yet announced his candidacy for party presidency and would take the decision after holding consultations with other leaders.

To secure the post of party president, Koirala is planning to project Paudel as the parliamentary party leader and seek support for party presidency in return, according to party sources. If this happens, Koirala and Deuba would be the only contenders for the post of party president. The general convention of the party is scheduled for March 3-6 in Kathmandu.