NC needs to do lot more to promote internal democracy

Kathmandu, January 30

As an initial exercise for the upcoming 13th National General Convention scheduled for March 3-6 in Kathmandu, Nepali Congress held its village and municipal level conventions yesterday and today, although elections were postponed in some villages/municipalities of five districts.

Conducting conventions at the local level is a massive democratic exercise. The party has also attempted to make the elections fair. However, recent incidents show that the party has still a lot to do improve its internal election system.

All villages and municipalities were supposed to conclude their conventions by today. But conventions were postponed in five districts – Solukhumbu, Siraha, Dhanusha, Bara and Parsa – due to technical reasons, according to Radheshyam Adhikari, coordinator of the Election Committee.

Conventions in Solukhumbu have been rescheduled for Tuesday. Similarly, VDC and municipal level conventions in four other districts would be held on Monday, he said. Area and district level conventions are scheduled for February 5 and 8 respectively.

There were complaints of lack of fairness in distribution of party’s active membership, change in convention booths without notice to influence the polls, clashes and physical assaults in a few places, including in Dharan, according to Adhikari. In a few places, including Saptari, cadres of the agitating the Madhes-based parties disrupted the conventions and consequently the conventions in those places have been rescheduled for Sunday and Monday, he said.

Adhikari, who also led the party’s Election Committee in 12th convention, said the party has made some significant improvements to discourage undemocratic practices in its internal elections.

“Unlike earlier conventions, we published the names of active members, on the party’s website. Election directives and circulars were also published on the website in advance. This exercise helped prevent serious anomalies and manipulation of party’s voters,” he said. The system of electing an NGC representative unopposed was removed this time as it spoiled the spirit of fair elections, according to him.

However, the provision to allow party workers to object to an active member’s eligibility for membership could not be introduced this time, he said.

Professor and political analyst Krishna Khanal said there were serious anomalies in issuance of membership or selection of voters in all political parties of Nepal. “And the NC is not exception although it is somehow liberal than others,” he said.

“It is also due to social, economic and developmental condition of the country. It is not good to promote dependent followers in a party as they may exploit the democratic system in a wrong way,” Khanal said.