Kathmandu, December 16
Following marathon meetings over the past few days, warring factions of the Nepali Congress have inched closer to an understanding on contentious issues of the 14th National Convention, number of party departments, constitution of Nepal Students Union and extension of tenure of Tarun Dal’s working committee.
Factions led by senior NC leader Ramchandra Paudel and Krishna Prasad Sitaula had united to boycott the CWC meeting after NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba turned down Paudel’s proposal that the party devise a calendar for the national convention and include it in the agenda for discussion in the ongoing CWC.
However, talks between NC Vice-president Bimalendra Nidhi and Prakash Man Singh held this morning at Singh’s home at Chaksibari made a breakthrough as the two sides agreed to reach a ‘package understanding’ on four aforementioned issues and finalise them in the next CWC slated for Wednesday on the basis of consensus.
Talking to THT, Nidhi said the two sides reached an ‘unwritten agreement’ this morning whereby the tenure of the existing CWC, set to expire in mid-March, would be extended until mid-March 2021. “We also agreed to announce a date for the national convention to be held before mid-March 2021,” said Nidhi.
He said the two sides also agreed to devise a calendar for the national convention which would include works such as holding conventions of the party’s committees in districts, provinces, electoral constituencies and issuance of active membership.
Although it’s still not clear whether the calendar for the national convention will be presented in the ongoing CWC, a leader close to Deuba said chances of the calendar being presented in the ongoing meeting were higher.
The Nidhi-Singh meet also agreed on Deuba’s proposal to increase the number of party departments from 28 to 41. “The only remaining issues, although mostly sorted out, are those related to NSU constitution and extension of Tarun Dal’s tenure,” said Nidhi. “We’ll hold another round of talks tomorrow and finalise a package understanding on all the four issues before concluding them in Wednesday’s CWC on the basis of consensus.”
A leader close to Paudel confirmed the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ between the two sides. “Differences on national convention calendar have been sorted out, but crucial issues of department formation, NSU constitution and Tarun Dal tenure extension remain to be resolved,” the leader told THT. “Nonetheless, the two sides have agreed to resolve these issues on the basis of consensus.”
The two sides, however, have yet to reach understanding on the exact date of the national convention, with the Paudel camp proposing mid-December 2020 and Deuba camp proposing early March 2021. Because of differences over the four issues between the establishment faction led by Deuba and the rival faction led by Ramchandra Paudel, the party’s central working committee meeting had to be postponed thrice — Thursday, Sunday and today.
Although Deuba tried to woo Paudel, even going to the extent of visiting Paudel’s home on Friday, the differences could not be ironed out as both the camps were adamant on their stands. So much so, the establishment faction had even decided to move ahead on the basis of majority.
“Things are, however, falling into place now,” NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma told THT. “We hope to finalise all these issues in Wednesday’s CWC on the basis of consensus.”
A version of this article appears in print on December 17, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.