There was no problem for Sher Bahadur Deuba to form a team during the 13th General Convention. Deuba, who has been in the race for the leadership of the Nepali Congress since the 10th General Convention in Pokhara, was ready to be “sacrificed” by the leaders of his group.
Leaders of the Deuba faction agreed to leave the post even after the election for the three posts of chairman, general secretary and treasurer. In order to win Deuba, Arjun Narasimha KC, who was in the then establishment group, was brought in his faction and made the candidate for the post of General Secretary. KC lost the election, Deuba won. Deuba, who had earlier become the president of the divided party, led the UCPN (Maoist).
At present, the Congress is on the verge of the 14th General Convention. There are only three weeks left until the general convention. Deuba has stepped up preparations to repeat the leadership. But making him a team is not easy this time. Those who have been supporting him for a long time are challenging Deuba. Those who sacrificed for Deuba in the past now seem to be more focused on their own political careers.
“It simply came to our notice then. Apart from the central members, there are many aspirants for the post of chairman since he rose to the post of chairman, ‘said an official close to Devanagari. No one is willing to give up. Everyone seems to be at the center. ‘
Deuba in intensive discussion
After the defeat of the Congress in the 2074 state and federal elections, some young leaders sided with the Early Congress. Blaming Deuba for the party’s defeat, the pro-change leaders met him and demanded an early general convention. Deuba’s response to the young leaders who went to demand early general convention less than two years after the election of the president was, “Leadership is obtained by fighting, not by asking.”
Deuba has indicated that it will be repeated in the 14th General Convention at that time. Deuba had been keeping the idea of taking leave only by making the Congress a big party under his own leadership to wash away the blame of weakening the party. However, he made the official statement only after the date of the convention was fixed.
Despite increasing the number of office bearers to be elected from the 14th General Convention, the number of aspirants has increased and Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba has found it difficult to manage the leaders of his own group.
The Central Working Committee meeting on July 16 had approved the schedule for holding the general convention in August. On the second day, 5 June, Deuba held separate discussions with the central members close to him and asked for his help.
In the meantime, the date of the Congress General Convention was amended three times. Deuba has also stepped up his preparations. Deuba, who is in control of the party, has now become the Prime Minister of the country. Discussions about his growing power within the party have been taking place in groups other than the Congress establishment.
Deuba is engaged in personal and group discussions with leaders close to him. Deuba had last held discussions with his close aides in Baluwatar on November 10, and on November 12 he also had informal discussions with the leaders of the establishment group about his candidature.
“The chairman himself is holding discussions with the leaders personally. Discussions are also taking place collectively, ‘said Congress Joint General Minister Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat said, “There is no doubt that Deuba will become the chairman from our group. Under his leadership, we will compete in the General Convention. ‘
He said that although Deuba’s candidature for the post of chairman has been confirmed, discussions have also started on the management of the posts and roles of the remaining leaders. “After the constituency assembly session of the House of Representatives, the discussion will be intensified to form a team. At present, discussions are underway to bring more and more delegates to the general convention of our group.”
Gopalman Shrestha, another leader of the establishment group, also said that Deuba had intensified the convention-centric discussions. “We are consulting. We are discussing how to bring the group together, “he told Online News.” We will discuss further before the state convention. The team will take shape after the district convention.
The more posts, the more aspiring
There are three aspirants from the establishment group for the post of chairman. Deuba’s trusted vice-president Bimalendra Nidhi and former vice-president Gopalman Shrestha have already announced their candidacies for the post. While Deuba-Nidhi is almost certain to face each other, Shrestha’s candidacy is likely to further divide the establishment group.
There is a challenge to get Nidhi and Shrestha together, and the management of the aspiring leaders of the office bearers is even more efficient.
The Congress will hold elections for 13 office bearers including one president, two vice presidents, two general secretaries and eight joint general secretaries from the inclusive party. Leaders who have sacrificed for Deuba for a long time are now in the mood to compete for office.
Deputy Chairman Vijay Kumar Gachchhadar has said that he will be re-elected as the Deputy Chairman. Similarly, General Secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka is also preparing for the post. There is talk within the establishment group that Gachchhadar and Khadka are almost certain to be the vice president. But Deuba is also under pressure to reconcile former general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula’s group, known as the Third Stream.
Deuba is also in the conclusion that Sitaula should be taken along after the vice-president Nidhi started the preparations for the post. Deuba was elected chairman of the 13th General Convention in the second round of voting with the support of the Sitaula group.
If he cooperates with Sitaula, Deuba will be under pressure to give him the post of vice-president. Deuba, who is carrying the management burden of the leaders of his own group, is in constant dialogue to bring the leaders of other groups into his group.
Similarly, half a dozen influential leaders in the establishment group are aspiring for the two general secretary posts. Joint General Minister Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, central members Bal Krishna Khanna, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, NP Saud, spokesperson Bishwaprakash Sharma and Ramesh Lekhak are contenders for the post while Sunil Thapa, who got the post of joint general minister when he joined the Rastriya Prajatantra Party Congress, is also lobbying for the post.
Leaders of the establishment group have been pressuring Deuba not to run for office as Khan and Karki have important responsibilities in the government.
Congress leader Gopalman Shrestha admits that there is a problem of management. ‘There is a problem. Who will make two deputy presidents, two general secretaries and eight joint general secretaries? ‘
Congress joint general secretary Mahat also said that it was not easy to form a team. “It’s not easy, but we will reach an understanding in the end,” he said. “The chairman himself is in dialogue with the leaders.”
As there is a problem in the management of the leaders, Deuba has been holding discussions within the party to add an open joint general secretary. Senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel is also in favor of adding three joint general ministers, while most of the young leaders of the establishment and other groups are against the proposal to add joint general ministers.
The meeting of the Central Working Committee held on 28 October also discussed about the addition of office bearers but no agreement was reached in the meeting.
“Deuba wants to appoint spokesperson Bishwaprakash Sharma, central member NP Saud and another joint general minister Sunil Thapa as the three joint general ministers,” said a leader close to the establishment. Spokesperson Sharma has already announced his candidature for the post.
Towards reservation, the management of leaders in all the eight joint general minister posts is no less challenging. It is not easy for Deuba to select candidates from Khas Arya and women. Nidhi is in the strategy of forming a team comprising the leaders of the establishment group who have made preparations so that the candidature for the chairmanship will not be withdrawn.