Kathmandu, February 4
Nepali Congress leaders say the grand old party looks set to head for a historic run-off voting to elect its new president during the upcoming 13th National General Convention to be held from March 3-6.
At least three candidates Sushil Koirala, Sher Bahadur Deuba and Ramchandra Paudel are likely to contest the election for the party president, although they are yet to announce their candidacy formally.
As none of the three candidates was likely to poll 50 per cent votes in the first round, top two contenders will advance to the second round.
NC CWC member Nabindra Raj Joshi said support of the first round’s loser was likely to decide the winner.
In the 12th NGC, although there were three candidates Sushil Koirala, Sher Bahadur Deuba and Bhim Bahadur Tamang Koirala was declared elected in the first round itself, as he polled 54 per cent votes, while Deuba secured 43 per cent votes.
The picture for the 13th NGC will be clearer in a day or two after constituency-level elections are held tomorrow.
Ananda Prasad Dhungana, who is close to Koirala, said, “The establishment side of the party seems stronger but the picture will be clearer only after constituency-level conventions.
Party leaders and workers at the grassroots level are more concerned to save the party when the country is at a difficult stage and they say only the party’s establishment can do so.”
Prakash Sharan Mahat, who belongs to the Deuba faction, said Deuba would become the next president as per the preliminary reports collected from local level conventions. “The party workers want change in the party leadership and Deuba is the only viable alternative,” he said.
Joshi, who supports Paudel, said the party needed a thoughtful leader who can formulate policies and implement them.
Although all local-level conventions were supposed to conclude by January 30, many booths of eight Tarai-based districts of Province No 2 and around 11 hilly and mountain districts have not held conventions, according to coordinator of election committee Radheshyam Adhikari.
Of 240 constituencies, 220 will complete their local- and constituency-level conventions tomorrow and it will take another four-five days to complete all conventions at local, constituency and district levels, he said.
A version of this article appears in print on February 05, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.