Kathmandu, February 24
Fifteen Nepali Congress leaders wrote notes of dissent as a meeting of the NC central working committee today endorsed the party’s amended statute on the basis of majority with provisions that are against the mandate of the recently-concluded meeting of the Maha Samiti, the NC’s lawmaking body.
Following immense pressure from Maha Samiti members to amend the party statute with provisions that CWC members should fight elections from the ward level and candidates under the proportional representation system should not be repeated, Deuba and Paudel had expressed commitment that the party’s subsequent CWC meeting would endorse the provisions.
The dispute-riddled Maha Samiti gathering had then concluded on December 24 giving the CWC the authority to adopt the statute with revisions.
However, the leadership backtracked from its commitment as the majority of NC leaders started lobbying for giving continuity to the existing statute provision that eliminates the risk of them being wiped out in ward-level elections in the upcoming 14th general convention of the party that is a year or so away.
The NC CWC today passed the statute with existing provisions, whereby NC CWC members, office bearers, lawmakers and ex-lawmakers automatically become general convention representatives and are eligible to vie for CWC membership. It also did not include the provision that PR candidates should not be repeated.
Fifteen NC CWC members, including senior leader Paudel, Treasurer Sita Devi Yadav, Arjun Narsingh KC, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Ram Sharan Mahat, Dilendra Prasad Badu, Nabindra Raj Joshi, Gagan Thapa, Pradip Paudel, Bal Bahadur KC, Chandra Bhandari and Ram Krishna Yadav — wrote notes of dissent, stating the decision undermined the party’s lawmaking body, the Maha Samiti. The issues had been the major bone of contention for the endorsement of the amended statute, with a number of the party’s CWC meetings ending inconclusively over the past few weeks.
After the dispute protracted, Deuba and Paudel agreed to resolve the issue through regular process, according to NC leader NP Saud. “The president made all efforts to forge consensus on the issue, but to no avail. So the issue was settled by majority vote,” he told THT.
However, leaders writing notes of dissent said Deuba missed an opportunity to strengthen internal democracy in the party through this ‘undemocratic move’. “We wrote a note of dissent after the statute was endorsed against the mandate of Maha Samiti,” KC told THT. “This grossly undermines the Maha Samiti, the second-highest body after the General Convention.”
Joshi said the majority decision by the CWC established that unfortunately NC workers carried little influence in the party. “Amending the statute through majority CWC decision sets a wrong precedent,” he told THT. “The decision will demoralise party workers as they will certainly feel they do not have any say in the party.”
In the CWC meeting, leaders opposed to the idea argued that such a provision would give rise to factional conspiracies to wipe out top leaders from ward-level elections. They were also of the view that due procedure needed to be followed for statute amendment — 25 per cent of the Maha Samiti members should formally propose such an amendment and the proposal should be endorsed by two-thirds of the members before it is sent to the CWC — but the process was not followed.
A version of this article appears in print on February 25, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.