Why did GPK oppose holding Mahasamiti?

KATHMANDU: It is almost certain that the Nepali Congress (NC) will hold its Mahasamiti meeting before the National General Convention (NGC). The party’s central committee meeting on October 9 took the decision to hold the meeting despite its president Girija Prasad Koirala’s repeated requests to put it off, although it changed the venue from Birgunj to Kathmandu.

The Mahasamiti meeting is significant because it is likely to revise the party statute and organisational structure. The changes will come into place with the NGC scheduled for March 10-14, 2010.

The November 1-3 Mahasamiti meeting in Kathmandu, will

also take a stand on Nepal’s

federal structure.

President Koirala opposed holding the Mahasamiti meeting citing financial burden and

impracticality prior to the

upcoming NGC.

NC senior leaders and analysts, however, say there are other

reasons behind Koirala’s

unwillingness to hold the meeting before the NGC.

First, it will change the party’s statute, which may adopt the

provision of collective leadership. A majority of party leaders

are backing the idea.

Koirala, who is against collective leadership, is pressing for

the continuity of the current presidential system, with some

minor changes, at the most. If the statute adopts the principle of collective leadership, the party will implement the system from the upcoming 12th NGC.

Second, its decision on the country’s future federal structure may be inconsistent with Koirala’s position. Koirala wants to carve the country’s federal units according to a north-south model. There are divergent views within the party about the number of federal units and their division.

Third, it may create hurdles in Koirala’s attempts to establish his daughter Sujata Koirala in the party’s senior position. If the Mahasamiti criticises Sujata’s

role in the party, then it will be difficult for President Koirala to promote her. The Mahasamiti meeting may also affect the results of the upcoming NGC.

The CC members and central leaders were sharply divided over whether or not to hold the Mahasamiti meeting. Supporting the president’s wish, around six CC members including Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, Krishna Sitaula and Ananda Dhungana, suggested putting off the Mahasamiti meeting. Acting president Sushil Koirala also wanted to put off the Mahasamiti meeting initially, but changed his position after mounting pressure from a majority of CC members, according to sources present at the meeting.

The Mahasamiti is the second most powerful body in the party after NGC. It can exercise all powers of the NGC, except for electing a new Central Working Committee (CWC). There are seven NGC representatives, from each electoral constituency, with voting rights. Three of the seven members are chosen as Mahasamiti members.

This time, however, there will be six Mahasamiti members from each constituency — three each from NC and former NC (Democratic) — as per the agreement made during the unification of NC and NC (D) some two-and-half years ago. Altogether there will be more than 1,300 Mahasamiti members eligible to take part in its upcoming Mahasamiti meeting.

A person seeking position in the central committee through election in the NGC has to be a Mahasamiti member.

The Mahasamiti also has the power to override the decisions taken by the CWC. The NC statute says that a Mahasamiti meeting has to be held at least once a year. However, the NC has not called the meeting after its unification some two-and-half years ago.

The meeting will dwell on four agendas

— Bimalendra Nidhi

(NC General Secretary)

The upcoming Mahasamiti meeting is important from various perspectives. It will decide the party’s new organisational structure by amending the party’s statute, which will determine the party’s future.

The new amended statute will, possibly, change the party’s leadership structure and make the

party more inclusive at all levels — from the village to the central

level. If we do not revise the statute in the Mahasamiti meeting,

then the party will not be able to change its organisational structure and implement it from the upcoming 12th NGC.

The meeting will also decide the party’s view about the country’s federal structure. The ongoing

CC meeting will discuss the

Mahasamiti meeting’s agenda.

We are planning to set the

agendas through consensus in the CC within a few days.

There will be four agendas, which will be presented at the Mahasamiti meeting by the General Secretary. First, it will approve the proposed revised statute of the party, transforming the party’s organisational structure by making it more inclusive and democratic.

Second, it will decide the party’s official position on state restructuring, which is a serious and important issue that can have a long term impact. Third, it will approve the party’s organisational report to be presented by the General Secretary at the NGC.

Four, it will approve a proposal on contemporary politics. The party has decided to change the venue from Birgunj to Kathmandu. It is more cost effective to arrange the meeting in Kathmandu, and the president Koirala, due to his health, will also feel comfortable to attend the meet.