NC, NC(D) camps at variance over ‘prime’ agenda

Damaru Lal Bhandari

Kathmandu, April 16:

The unification of the Nepali Congress (NC) and NC (D) depends on how fast or slowly the apologists of unification convince the NC (D) leadership of the need to boil down the political agenda to the demand for reinstatement of the House of Representatives. Chances of unification are increasing, following a meeting between NC president Girija Prasad Koirala and Krishna Prasad Bhattarai last Monday. Both reportedly agreed to prioritise restoration of democracy rather than waste time talking about the finer points of unification. Koirala called on Bhattarai soon after a dozen NC (D) leaders including NC (D) general secretary Bijay Kumar Gachchadar, Dr Narayan Khadka, Sharat Singh Bhandari and Bal Bahadur KC, among others met Bhattarai.

Political observers say Koirala seems under great pressure, with Bhattarai talking tough and telling Koirala to call it a day in favour of new leadership. “What I know for sure is people are meeting our party president in this (unification) connection. And I am sure whatever is happening could pave way for the same,” said NC central leader Chakra Prasad Bastola. He, however, expressed ignorance both about Bhattarai suggesting Koirala quit the helm of the party. He also declined to elaborate on whether both leaders had agreed to prioritise reinstatement of the House of Representatives as a common agenda. A section of the NC (D) claimed that reunification was the prime subject of conversation between the two leaders. “Bhattarai told Koirala the latter must call it a day and name a successor from the second rung leaders,” a NC(D) leader told this daily.

A section of the NC, however, refuted the claims, saying the two leaders had agreed on the dynamics of unification while revival of the House of Representatives was the prime agenda.

A section of the NC (D), led by general secretary Gachchadar, is in favour of revival. “We talked to him. Time-bound revival is the only way out of the impasse,” NC (D) central leader Dr Khadka told reporters, vindicating claims that a section of NC (D) was backing Koirala.

While NC sources claimed that the parties could be deemed to be drifting towards unification in the event of the revival of the House of Representatives, Dahal insisted that NC (D) was very particular about “honourable” unification, adding that this would include recognising NC(D) as a separate political entity.