Kathmandu, April 26

The Central Working Committee meeting of the Nepali Congress to review the party’s election performance continued for the eleventh day today, with leaders Gopal Man Shrestha and Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar presenting their opinions.

Amid leaders representing camps led by senior leader Ramchandra Paudel and Krishna Prasad Sitaula strongly criticising the leadership and demanding early general convention, Shrestha and Gachhadar who represent the establishment faction defended the leadership. Shrestha attributed the party’s humiliating defeat in the provincial and parliamentary elections especially to the alliance of two big communist parties the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre, lack of internal unity and harmony that resulted in betrayals, and the party’s failure to properly communicate with people about the good works of the party when in power, said NC Chief Secretary Krishna Prasad Paudel.

“The NC has always provided leadership to major political changes in the country, such as when ending of the Rana regime and Panchayat system, and taking the peace process to a logical end by promulgating the constitution and holding elections,” Paudel quoted Shrestha as saying. “However, the party failed to effectively communicate with the people.”

Shrestha also pointed out some of the unpopular decisions taken by the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government, such as those related to the inspector general of police and chief justice, which earned bad reputation for the party, according to a participant in the meeting.

Shrestha, however, said that it was not good practice to hold only one person responsible for the election defeat and that all those in leadership positions should take responsibility for success and failure of the party.

Shrestha also said that the party should now address its internal weaknesses by strengthening its organisation and sister organisations, and maintaining harmony within the party. He also said that the NC should go to the people at the grassroots level and work to regain their trust.

Gachchhadar said the party’s votes had not decreased, and termed the election loss ‘technical’ due to the alliance between the second and third largest parties in the previous Constituent Assembly-turned Legislature Parliament, according to a participant at the meeting.

Gachchhadar will continue presenting his opinion tomorrow. NC General Secretary Shashank Koirala will present his opinion in writing followed by senior leader Paudel and NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba.

NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said the meeting would end tomorrow with the formation of the statute draft committee and announcement of the date for the Mahasamiti meeting and a national campaign to revive the party.

Sharma said the national campaign will include programmes such as training party members in all 77 districts and holding a gathering of NC district presidents, among others. Paudel said the major objective of the national campaign would be to ‘generate energy’ within two months to effectively take on the dictatorial approach of the ruling left alliance.