KATHMANDU: Following Nepali Congress (NC) president Girija Prasad Koirala’s decision to relinquish leadership of the Parliamentary Party (PP), four leaders have decided to vie for the post for which elections will be held on Saturday.
The polls will take place more than a year after the formation of the Constituent Assembly (CA).
Koirala today met the four candidates at his residence in Maharajgunj, urging them to maintain the party’s unity. Earlier, he had requested the candidates to propose the leader on the basis of a broad-based consensus.
NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi and Krishna Prasad Sitaula, too, have been in favour of consensus in deference to the veteran leader’s wish. However, the candidates were keen to contest the elections.
Stating that NC was a party assigned with historic responsibility, Koirala is learnt to have told the PP candidates that only a serious leader could undertake the monumental task.
“The candidates should take victory or loss in the polls in the spirit of sportsmanship,” NC leader KB Gurung, one of the candidates, quoted Koirala as saying. “Let us take this opportunity to send across the message that NC stands united,” Koirala had said.
“I’m the senior most leader. I’m not ready for retirement, either. So, I request you to help me,” said Deuba, arguably the front-runner in the elections.
In response, Ram Chandra Paudel, another contestant, said that Deuba got the chance to be PM as many as three times. Hence, he (Paudel) justified that he should get the opportunity.
KB Gurung and Suprabha Ghimire, too, refused to withdraw their candidature.
Deuba, after the meeting, dispelled the rumour that he was requesting Koirala to be the PP leader since he was scared of the elections.
Tomorrow’s polls will elect PP leader and 17 members for the working committee. While, the deputy leader will be nominated later.
A face-off between the top two candidates is most likely since no contestant is expected to garner a majority of votes. There are 114 NC lawmakers in the CA.
Deuba enjoys the support of Nidhi and four Cabinet ministers. Acting president Sushil Koirala and vice president Prakash Man Singh are supporting Paudel whereas Ghimire is backed by Pradip Giri, Narahari Acharya, Purna Bahadur Khadka and Gagan Thapa.