KATHMANDU: The standing committee meeting of the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) held on Friday upheld its last central committee’s decision to hold the unified party’s general convention in April next year. Earlier in February, the central committee meeting had decided to organize its general convention between April 7 and 12 in Kathmandu.
The motion approved from last week’s standing committee meeting states that ‘the general convention will be held with the spirit of consensus and party unity.’
The NCP formed after a unification between the then CPN (UML) and the CPN (Maoist-Center) has been keeping consensus its main priority.
Is it possible to elect a new leadership of the NCP through consensus? How will the new leadership formed in the NCP formed after the merger of CPN (UML) and CPN (Maoist-Center) who had opted for different exercises of choosing their leaderships? Debates and discussions on these questions have now begun in the NCP. While the erstwhile CPN (UML) used to hold elections for leaderships from district to central levels if there was no consensus, CPN (Maoist-Center) was exercising ‘democratic centralization’ to choose leadership on consensus basis.
As the election for the leadership in the first unity convention could result into factionalism and groupism between two parties merged into the NCP, the voice for the consensus-based leadership is getting bolder inside the party.
However, forging a consensus for the leadership is going to be a big challenge as there are many aspirants from district and central levels for the post of chairman. Even the stiff competition among Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda,’ KP Sharma Oli and Madhav Kumar Nepal for the party chairman will be hard to manage.
Although Prime Minister Oli has reiterated that he is not interested in becoming the chairman again, party insiders believe that he could change his mind and jump into the fray later. There is also a possibility of party vice chairman Bam Dev Gautam coming forward as a contender of the chairman upon Oli’s backing. The competition between at least three candidates for the party chairman will be reflected in the district and province level committees.
Some youth leaders close to Madhav Kumar Nepal have brought up a proposal of a multi-post party structure including two chairmen and two general secretaries to keep the party unity intact.
They say that such structure is a must to make Prachanda the party chairman and maintain the party unity as leaders of the erstwhile CPN (UML) have become the President, Prime Minister and Chairman. The organizational structure of the two chairmen should be continued for management between the two leaders of the party, they say.
There are nearly a dozen aspirants for the post of General Secretary. Bishnu Poudel, Ishwor Pokharel, Shankar Pokharel have shown interest to become the General Secretary from erstwhile CPN (UML) while Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal,’ Barshaman Pun ‘Ananta,’ Shakti Basnet, Janardan Sharma ‘ Prabhakar’ and Giriraj Mani Pokharel from the then CPN (Maoist-Center) are also vying for the same post.
Despite complication in the selection of leaders, NCP is now headed towards the general convention. The party has to finalize the organized members and complete the remaining works of party unification as it moves towards the process of holding its general convention.
In line with the decision of the standing committee, the party is now preparing to issue a circular to all committees. Party chairmen Oli and Prachanda have held discussion on Sunday to complete remaining works of the unification and issue an internal circular.
The two chairmen are finalizing the circular jointly in accordance with the decision of undertaking important party works based on a consensus.
According to the decision of the standing committee, all district committees will have to send an updated list of party members to the provincial committees which will finalize the list and forward it to the central level by Kartik [mid-November] and complete renewal of membership by Mangshir [mid-December].
The central committee meeting is scheduled to be held on October 31 and November 1 when the secretariat will present an agenda, report drafting committee, main organizing committee and other mechanisms and processes to select delegates along with the schedule for the party’s general convention.
Following the unification, the party has an enormous base of cadres as well as many contestants for leadership at various levels. There are many leaders who are active at ward, village and town, constituency, district, province and central levels.
NCP leaders admit that the election of leadership is going to become a complicated process in trying to complete the unification process of the party. Voting could become a solution, but the outcome of factionalism, defeat of a certain group and bitterness resulting from election results threatens the unity of the party.