NC split on issue of republican set-up

Ishwar Khanal

Kathmandu, January 27:

The Nepali Congress (NC) leaders and its sister organisations are deeply divided over the issues of constitutional monarchy and republican setup.

While some party bigwigs and student organisations, especially the Nepal Students’ Union (NSU), want the upcoming general convention of the party to decide in favour of a republican setup, other influential leaders say it will not happen.

“The issue would be raised but the party will not give up its stand on constitutional monarchy,” an NC insider told this daily.

However, Sujata Koirala claimed that she would be the first to put intense pressure on the leadership in favour of a republican setup during the convention scheduled for March 2-6. “We have begun discussions on the significance of the constitutional monarchy because we have realised that the country can move forward without monarchy.”

In sharp contrast, a senior leader, however, billed the anti-King slogans raised in the streets as “extreme”. “The dissolution of the Nepal Students’ Union is still fresh. I don’t have to remind her why the general secretary and the president of the NSU were dismissed.” This is a case of double-standard on the part of the leaders, he said.

Former foreign minister and party leader, Chakra Prasad Banstola, however, chose to tread the middle path, saying the people want to be “very specific” about the constitutional monarchy. “They are in real need of a sincere constitutional monarchy, not a monarch who is trying to rise above the Constitution.”

Another leader, however, said the convention would make a decision on “curtailing” the King’s powers and rights.

“When the party has failed to put pressure on its demand of the revival of the House of Representatives, the question of leaving its conventional stand could be absurd.”

“Once the King remains within the constitutional parameters and people become sovereign, talking about a republican setup would be worthless.”