Kathmandu: At a time when the Nepali Congress is preparing for its 14th general convention, its top leaders are competing for the post of President.
At present, Sher Bahadur Deuba, Ram Chandra Poudel, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Dr. Shekhar Koirala, Shashank Koirala, and Prakash Man Singh are seeking to claim the post of President.
The recent announcement of Bimalendra Nidhi as the President has brought a wave in the Nepali Congress, with rumors going around that Nidhi is trying to advance his career towards the post of Prime Minister in the future by leading his party from Madhes.
Apart from this, Gagan Thapa has also stated the possibility of him becoming the president of NCP. However, Congress leaders have stated that Thapa had only made his statement in order to garner the media’s attention.
Which of the two permanent factions?
Since there are different factions within the Congress party, both are permanent. Currently, the party is led by Sher Bahadur Deuba. However, many expect competition between Deuba and the Koirala family.
The Koirala family, which has been leading the party since its inception, has not yet been able to hold a leadership position since the time of Sushil Koirala. However, they are expected to try and claim the party’s leadership position by ousting Deuba this time around during the 14th General Convention.
Both Shashank and Shekhar Koirala have stated that they will be running as candidates for the post, and doing it separately. However, leaders close to the Koirala family have expressed that it would be unfortunate for the two brothers to run separately for the presidency.
“Although Deuba has a strong claim from the establishment’s side, if Shekhar and Shashank run separately, there will be no greater misfortune,” said a leader close to Koirala. “Deuba will take advantage of the ego of the two brothers.”
However, Shekhar and Shashank are not willing to run together. Dr. Minendra Rijal, who has been insisting on the Koirala family reaching the ultimate leadership title, is adamant that Deuba should not be given the leadership again under any circumstances.
‘Minendra is working hard to lead the Koirala family. He is lobbying to bring the two brothers together,” said a Congress source.
Senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel, who had previously been in the race for the presidency in the previous general convention, will be contesting this time around too.
Poudel, who had previously not received any support from anyone within the party when he first ran, will again be running with no support.
Although Poudel was willing to join the Koirala family’s efforts, the possibility of that happening has now been ruled out, as both Shekhar and Shashank have already boycotted him.
“Ram Chandra has no chance of winning the chairmanship, and right now he’s only running for his own satisfaction because there he does not have support from anybody in the party,” stated a Congress leader. “The Koirala family has already boycotted him and because he will not have a chance to run in the 15th General Convention, he has decided to run now for the last time.”
Shekhar Koirala has been urging Poudel and Deuba to hand over the leadership and help him in the upcoming general convention, and for them to both become senior leaders. “We urge them to be respected. We have to get the leadership now,” Koirala confided to leaders close to him.
Shashank Koirala, on the other hand, has claimed that he will attempt to defeat Deuba and Ram Chandra alone.
Deuba is likely to take the lead
Sher Bahadur Deuba, who has been accused of running the party in a one-sided manner, is adamant that he will not lose in the 14th General Convention. Deuba, who has a good grip on the establishment side, does not seem to be ready to hand over the leadership to the Koirala family just yet.
“It simply came to our notice then. I will not back down. It doesn’t matter who will compete in the general convention,” according to a leader quoting Deuba. “The leadership will certainly go to Deuba this time around too.”
Prakashman and Sitaula’s stand
Prakashan Man Singh and Krishna Prasad Sitaula are also in the line to seek the position of President. Sitaula, who is supported by Gagan Thapa, does not seem to be ready to step down from competing for the post, citing that this will be his last general convention. However, Thapa’s support will not be enough for him to win the presidency.
As Gagan Thapa is in the line for the post of General Secretary, he has taken a stand not to leave Sitaula’s pursuit. Similarly, Singh is also not likely to retaliate from the nomination for the President.
“Singh and Sitaula will only participate in the general convention. With Thapa alone, Sitaula is unlikely to win the leadership,” stated a leader.
Sitaula is eager to participate in the 14th General Convention as he will not be able to stand for the presidency in the 15th General Convention.
Those who know him closely say that he is not likely to work alongside Deuba or Koirala.