Kathmandu, February 24

Although the 13th National General Convention of the Nepali Congress is just eight days away, leaders of both panels establishment side and the faction led by senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba have refrained from formally announcing candidacies for the office bearers’ positions, hoping to garner last-minute support for their respective sides.

Ramchandra Paudel from the establishment side is trying his best to convince aspirants for the office bearers’ positions to support him in the race for the party’s top post.

He held meetings with influential leaders, including Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Shashanka Koirala, Sujata Koirala and Khum Bahadur Khadka, in an attempt to win support for his candidacy for party president.

However, leaders of the establishment side have yet to forge consensus on the issue.

As the faction is also preparing to amend the party’s statute to increase the posts of the office bearers, it will be able to announce candidacies for the office bearer’s position only before the NGC, said a leader from the faction.

Deuba camp has also delayed formal announcement of candidates waiting for the establishment side to make the first move. Party sources said Deuba is waiting for the establishment side to make the first move so that he could take a strategic decision.

Deuba held meetings with leaders, including Shashanka Koirala and Khum Bahadur Khadka, to win their support but both Koirala and Khadka remain undecided about who they would support and on what condition.

“If the establishment side announced its team for office bearers’ positions, the disgruntled leaders can be brought to our (Deuba) camp.

So, we are waiting and weighing the developments before formally announcing candidates from our side,” said a leader belonging to the Deuba camp.

Meanwhile, Khum Bahadur Khadka, an influential leader of the party, today held a gathering of his supporters at the home of former MP Rabindra Lal Shrestha in Baneshwor and discussed the group’s strategy.

The gathering formed a committee comprising Central Working Committee members Shankar Bhandari and Pushpa Bhusal to hold talks with both the establishment and the Deuba panel, according to Bhandari. “We will hold talks with both the sides and will support the one which would best accommodate our group,” he said.

NC is preparing to hold discussions on the party’s policy and programme at the CWC meeting slated for tomorrow.