Deuba, rival camps hold separate meets

Kathmandu, November 28

The issue of Nepali Congress statute amendment is becoming ever more contentious, widening the rift between the establishment and rival camps of the party already riddled with factionalism.

While the establishment faction led by NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba accuses the rival camps of non-cooperation, the rival factions led by senior leader Ramchandra Paudel and Krishna Prasad Sitaula charge the establishment faction of trying to amend the statute in a way that ensures their hold on party leadership.

The major bone of contention has been the issue of how many central working committee members and officer bearers the president can nominate — whether to increase the number of office bearers by increasing the number of CWC members to 131 from 85; whether to continue with the provision of general and active membership; and how to elect general convention representatives, among others.

On the eve of the CWC meeting to discuss clause-wise the draft statute, the establishment and rival factions today held two separate gatherings. While leaders representing the establishment faction assembled at Deuba’s residence, leaders from Paudel and Sitaula camps gathered at the residence of Sujata Koirala.

Three members of the Koirala family — Shashank, Shekhar and Sujata — have lately come on the same page, while rival factions are trying to forge some sort of alliance to up the ante against the Deuba camp.

Present in today’s gathering at Koirala’s residence were Arjun Narshing KC, Gagan Thapa, Chandra Bhandari, Dhan Raj Gurung, Ram Sharan Mahat and NC General Secretary Shashank Koirala, among others. Paudel, Sitaula, and Shekhar Koirala were present in yesterday’s gathering.

Bhandari said the gathering, a continuation to yesterday’s meet, focused on the provision of draft statute amendment. He said the gathering, called by General Secretary Koirala, agreed that the draft statute should be taken unanimously to the Maha Samiti slated from December 14 to 18.

Bhandari, however, criticised NC President Deuba of promoting factionalism in the party by not inviting them in the gathering at his residence to discuss issues related to statute amendment.

“We assembled here [Koirala residence] after the general sectary invited us. But don’t you think President Deuba should have invited all of us to his residence instead of only meeting leaders close to him?”   said Bhandari.

Leaders attending the gathering at Deuba’s residence, however, said it was an informal gathering where some CWC members put forth their views on the draft statute before the party president. “It was not a formal meeting called by Deuba, but CWC members had assembled at Deuba’s residence to convey to him their concerns,” said NC leader NP Saud.

The gathering was attended by leaders, including Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar, Purna Bahadur Khadka, Gopal Man Singh, and Prakash Sharan Mahat, among others.