Kathmandu, December 12
Factional feud in the Nepali Congress reared its head again as the camp led by senior NC leader Ramchandra Paudel today boycotted the party’s Central Working Committee meeting amid differences over devising a calendar for the 14th National Convention of the party and proposal to increase the number of party divisions.
Leaders had assembled at the NC headquarters this morning to finalise the agenda for today’s CWC. However, bitterness started to creep in 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 CWC. The Paudel camp is also against Deuba’s proposal to increase the number of party divisions to 41 from the existing 28.
As the meeting got under way, leaders including Paudel, Ram Sharan Mahat, Prakash Man Singh and Shekhar Koirala assembled in a different room at the party headquarters. General Secretary Shashank Koirala, who is also against Deuba’s proposal to increase number of party divisions, left for his residence before the meeting started.
The meeting was attended by leaders of the establishment faction, including Bimalendra Nidhi, General Secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka and Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma.
The Paudel faction has charged the establishment faction of trying to delay the national convention by raising an unnecessary issue of revising the number of party divisions. The tenure of the existing CWC ends in mid-March.
Talking to THT, Paudel said Deuba was trying to throw the national convention into uncertainty. “What can we expect from a president who does not even want to include the issue of national convention in the agenda for the CWC meeting,” Paudel said. “Sensing the president is hell bent on throwing the party into crisis, we protested.”
Paudel said the president’s latest proposal to increase the number of party divisions to 41 was nothing but a ploy to delay the national convention. “The divisions have not been formed for the past four years. Now they are trying to increase the number of divisions a few months before the CWC’s tenure expires,” Paudel said. “We’ll never accept such things.”
NC CWC member Nabindra Raj Joshi, who is close to Paudel, said the establishment faction was trying to enforce their decisions on the basis of majority. “This is a wrong attitude,” he told THT.
On the other hand, the establishment faction argued that the statute had clearly provisioned that the CWC could revise the number of party divisions as per the need.
NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said the proposal to raise the number of party divisions was in line with the party statute provision and was based on the fact that the party had 42 divisions when late Sushil Koirala was the party’s president.
As far as the calendar for the 14th National Convention is concerned, Sharma said the previous CWC meet had decided to devise a calendar for the national convention only after the formation of subordinate committees of the party.
The party had delegated its election committee to form lower-level bodies. The committee is scheduled to brief the CWC about its progress in the ongoing CWC. “The calendar for the national convention cannot be devised without the issue being discussed in the CWC,” Sharma told THT.
Deuba had put forth nine agendas for today’s meeting, which endorsed three of them — all congratulatory proposals.
The next CWC meeting is scheduled for Sunday. It will discuss the remaining agendas, including progress made by the election committee in forming lower-level committees, review of the recently-held by-poll, increasing the number of party divisions and the Kalapani issue.