The Unity General Convention of Rastriya Prajatantra Party began today in Kathmandu with much fanfare.

Major political leaders of various parties, including Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal, CPN-ML Chairman CP Mainali and other top leaders of various political parties attended the inauguration ceremony of the general convention.

However, KP Sharma Oli, newly reelected chairman of CPN-UML, was not able to join the inauguration today, as he had left Chitwan this evening from the general convention of his own party.

Addressing the General Convention, PM Deuba said parties with similar ideologies should unite and less number of parties would benefit the country. "Parties and people who share similar ideologies should come together as it is good to have limited number of parties rather than many parties in the country," Deuba said.

Similarly, Nepal highlighted how RPP had helped shape democracy and maintain rule of law. He also asked the party not to go backwards while the pace of change was moving forward. Similarly, Dahal termed himself as no less nationalist than the pro-monarchy RPP. "I am no less nationalist than RPP but our paths are different," Dahal said. Dahal, who was a co-chair of former Nepal Communist Party (NCP) along with Oli, had not attended the General Convention of the CPN-UML held till yesterday at Chitwan.

Similarly, RPP's incumbent party chair Kamal Thapa urged all the democratic parties not to fear them but be open for national unity as it was the need of today.

"Democratic parties need not worry about monarchy and pro-monarchists need not worry about democratic forces.

Today's demand is that progressive ideology and traditional forces should go hand in hand. Today, we need unity between the king and the people to ensure guarantee of national security and national existence." Thapa said.

Similarly, founding leader of the party and former PM Lokendra Bahadur Chand said there should be space for monarchy in politics. He thanked outgoing chairman Pashupati Shumsher Rana and Prakash Chandra Lohani for their role in party unity.

Around 4,300 general convention representatives, including those elected from each of the 330 provincial constituencies, have gathered at the capital for the general convention.

This is the first general convention held after the reunification of RPP that choose three chairperson, including Thapa, Rana and Lohani.

The three-day long general convention will elect a single chairman, office-bearers and central members.

Meanwhile, incumbent party chair Thapa and the only lawmaker of the party Rajendra Lingden are vying for the top post. Two other chairpersons of the party, Rana and Lohani have kept themselves out of the race and expressed support to Lingden saying that the party leadership should pave the way for youth leaders. The competition for party chair between Lingden and Thapa seems to be tough as both the leaders have claimed they will win majority of votes.

During the convention, Chair Thapa is set to present a political paper for the party while Rana and Lohani will present social and financial papers.

A version of this article appears in the print on December 2, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.