With the reelection of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur as the president of Nepali Congress, the era of Koirala clan dominance, and legacy of BP Koirala, has come to an end for the first time in the history since the establishment of the party. To push Koiralas out of the central stage, all opponents stood together backing Deuba. The decline of Nepali Congress and its ideological path propounded by founder BP Koirala had started during the tenure of his own brother former prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala, who gave up party’s ideology for power. Newly reelected president Deuba, who was groomed under BP Koirala, is now leading the party with anti-Koirala support, although BP’s son Dr. Shashanka Koirala has won the election by securing the highest number of votes as a central committee member.
Dec. 26, 2021, 2:06 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 15, No. 10, Dec.24, 2021 (Poush 09,2078) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75
As the final results of the elections have come out, the overwhelming majority of the central committee members represent anti-Koiralas and anti-BP thesis. Never before in its history has NC seen such a drastic shift of power in its party as after the conclusion of the 14th General Convention.
To wash out Koirala’s influences, all anti-Koiralas formed a strong alliance backing Deuba, who was groomed under B.P. Koirala, as a sole leader. Dr. Shekhar Koirala, the weakest member of the family, was used to play an end game in a convention aimed to whitewash Koirala’s legacy from the foundation of the party.
The 14th convention also showed the red card to most influential second-generation leaders like Dr. Minendra Rijal and Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat who fought from the group of two strong contenders. However, both of them were defeated by two young generation leaders in the elections of General Secretary.
Dr. Rijal, who quickly tendered his resignation as defense minister, and Dr. Mahat, a close aid of PM Deuba, were badly defeated by younger generation leaders Gagan Thapa and Bishwo Prakash Sharma.
Although Deuba was groomed in politics under the shadow of BP Koirala, opponents and detractors chose him a unanimous leader to bid farewell to Koirala.
Of course, Dr. Shashanka Koirala, a son of BP Koirala, won the election of central committee member with overwhelming votes. But, he looks too weak to restore the legacy again.
Dr. Shekhar’s Defeat
As soon as NC leader Ram Chandra Poudel, who might have a good chance to defeat Deuba this time, decided to withdraw from the party elections and no other claim came for the position, Dr. Koirala did not face any opposition from the anti-Deuba group.
With a weak personality and unclear ideological stand, Dr. Koirala’s announcement as a candidate to challenge Deuba had not generated any jubilation in the party. Backtracking of Poudel was a major political success for PM Deuba. Having worked with PM Deuba for quite a long time, representing the anti-Koirala group, Prakash Man Singh and Bimlendra Nidhi backed him in the second round as a natural process.
Despite claiming as a self-made politician, with no claim to representing family legacy, Dr. Shekhar Koirala had not influenced Nidhi and Singh to support him in the second round. Naturally, they lent their support to Prime Minister Deuba.
After the completion of the 14th convention, Nepali Congress has started the process of transition in changing the leadership. However, the wiping out of almost all second-ranked leaders by the third generation will have a long-term impact on the party.
At a time when Nepali Congress is contesting the politics diluting its old ideology as a centrist party, newly re-elected president Sher Bahadur Deuba, an old guard, has no easy time countering the radical communist ideology.
As he has been leading the communist-dominated front in the government, no one can say for sure about the life of the Deuba government. Divided due to marginal individual differences, one cannot rule out the possibility of the unity of the communist parties again as in the last elections.
As the party is under the heavy influence of new generation radicals like Gagan Thapa, Kalyan Gurung, Bishwo Prakash and so many others, it will be hard for PM Deuba to bring back Nepali Congress in its old position as the largest party in the coming election.
“Of course, many new colleagues are elected in the party and it will put a lot of pressure to move to radicalization path. However, there is no option for Nepali Congress other than to continue its centrist approach propounded by BP Koirala,” said NP Saud, who secured the second-highest vote as the central member of Nepali Congress.
Saud, who is close to PM Deuba, holds the view that elections of Deuba are a continuity of the party legacy laid down by BP, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, Ganeshman Singh and Girija Prasad Koirala.
“Dr.Shashanka Koirala, Prakash Man Singh, Bimalendra Nidhi and Sujata Koirala’s support to Deuba is an indication that Nepali Congress current leadership is a continuation to the ideology propounded by its leaders,” said Saud, former president of Nepal Students Union. “Even recently elected new colleagues will transform to the party’s centrist stand.”
Whither Ram Chandra?
Leading anti-Deuba camp for almost four years following his defeat with Deuba last time, the pullout from the party elections allowing Deuba to contest with Dr. Shekhar Koirala, announced by senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel impacted the election.
He has lost his credibility as a leader following the sudden decision to withdraw from the race. Some of his close backers Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat and Arjun Narshing KC, who are elected in the central committee, are now in awkward positions. Taking the anti-Deuba stand for long, it is very difficult for them to toe with Deuba. They can neither join the camp of younger generations.
Given the political understanding and traditions, Deuba will nominate Poudel, Dr. Shekhar Koirala, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Prakash Man Singh, Bimalendra Nidhi and Sujata Koirala as central committee members. This will give some space to the anti-Deuba group to reunite and reorganize again.
By paving the victory of all their own men including Purna Bahadur Khadka as vice president, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, Bal Krishna Khand, Gopal Man Shrestha, Ramesh Lekhak, Dr. Arju Rana Deuba, Udaya Sumsher Rana, Sunil Bahadur Thapa as members, Deuba’s strategists also pull newly elected general secretary in their front.
With the current structure of the party, Ram Chandra Poudel’s position will now depend on Prime Minister Deuba. After losing battle in the district and province, Poudel has very little left to choose. Prime Minister Deuba’s wish will decide his future role in the party.
As founder and legendary leader of Nepali Congress, BP Koirala said Nepali Congress will lose its position once it gave its stand on nationalism and democracy or its sand as centrist party.
He added that the party will become irrelevant in case NC gives up its centrist stand. For the sake of political power, the late Girija Prasad Koirala pushed back the party to extreme end, giving up its ideology.
Looking at all the activities of GP Koirala, late Krishna Prasad Bhattarai issued a statement announcing that he was no longer attached to Nepali Congress. Frustrated by GP Koirala’s behavior, Ganesh Man Singh died as a non-congress.
In this context, Nepali Congress has now existed for power politics, not for its ideological cause. For Prime Minister Deuba, this is a good time to bring back Nepali Congress into the center of politics and make a big progress.
At a time when overwhelming members are newcomers or juniors, Prime Minister Deuba has an enormous opportunity to drive the party into its rightful place.
Gap In The Leadership
This is not the first time there is a break in the transition of leadership in the Nepali Congress. Earlier, the party denied the genuine demand of leadership by Govinda Ra Joshi, Taranath Rana Bhat, Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat and Arjun Narshing KC.
Denying leadership claims by Dr. Minendra Rijal, Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat and other second-generation, this convention has repeated the mistakes. Had the leadership passed on to Joshi, Ranabhat, Dr. Mahat and KC smoothly, the current gap of leadership in the party would not have occurred. This will have long-term implications for the party’s ranking.
PM Deuba Elected Nepali Congress President
Prime Minister and NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba got reelected for the post of party president. He defeated leader Dr. Shekhar Koirala, who was vying for the presidency in the second phase of the election, with a huge margin.
Deuba got elected to the post of party president with 2724 votes while his rival Dr. Shekhar Koirala got 1817 votes. Some 33 votes were invalidated.
A total of 4,563 votes were cast in the second round of elections held to elect party president in the NC’s 14th general convention. There were five candidates in the first round of election and none of them garnered a 50% plus vote to get elected to the post.
As no candidate secured 51 per cent of the total votes in the voting, the reelection for the party presidency started in the second round.
In the first round of the voting, Deuba finished the race with 2,258 votes while his nearest competitor Dr Koirala obtained 1,702 votes.
Gagan Thapa and Bishwa Prakash Sharma have been elected to the post of general secretaries of the Nepali Congress.
Thapa got 3,023 votes while Sharma secured 1,954 in the voting held in the 14th general convention of the NC, according to Gopal Krishna Ghimire, coordinator of the NC central election committee.
The Nepali Congress Central Election Committee concluded the vote counting of its Central Working Committee members of the open category following the election.
The NCCEC informed that 35 candidates secured the victory in the elections held under the open category. Altogether 99 leaders were in the fray for the 35 seats.
Of the 99 candidates vying for the post of central members, Dr. Shashank Koirala is elected securing the highest votes at 3,836 followed by NP Saud, who garnered 2,937 votes.
Likewise, Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand is elected by obtaining the third-largest vote at 2,879.
Other leaders who got elected include Udaya Shumsher Rana (with 2,843 votes), Ram Hari Khatiwada (2,832), Communication and Information Technology Minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki (2,820), Ramesh Lekhak (2,780), Shankar Bhandari (2,768), Jip Tshering Lama (2,702) and Arjun Narasingh KC (2,650).
Likewise, Jeet Jung Basnet, Gopal Man Shrestha, Mohan Bahadur Basnet, Sunil Bahadur Thapa, Nain Singh Mahar, Dilendra Prasad Badu, Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat, Bal Bahadur KC, Govinda Bhattarai, Kundan Raj Kafle, Dipak Giri, Surendra Raj Pandey, Padma Narayan Chaudhari, Rajib Dhungana, Guru Baral, Sanjay Kumar Gautam, Dr. Govinda Raj Pokharel, Madan Bahadur Amatya, Ajaya Babu Shiwakoti, Ganesh Lama, Dinesh Koirala, Umesh Jung Rayamajhi, Mohan Acharya, Gopal Dahit and Krishna Kishor Ghimire were elected.
Krishna Kishor Ghimire garnered 1,707 votes, the lowest among those elected. Of the 35 members, 16 are new faces in the central committee.
Of those who lost the election, Manoj Mani Acharya had secured the highest votes at 1,654 and Purushottam Lamichhane got the lowest, only 160 votes. No woman candidate contested for the central committee members under open category.
In the elections, 4,662 votes were cast. The NCCEC was counting votes of women central members.
Leaders Purna Bahadur Khadka and Dhanraj Gurung have been elected Vice Presidents of the Nepali Congress (NC) in its 14th general convention.
RSS report said Khadka secured 2,121 votes and Gurung received 1,908 votes to emerge victorious to the post, according to NC central election committee. NC statute has arranged two vice-presidents in the central working committee.
According to RSS, Khadka was the general secretary and Gurung the central member in the incumbent working committee.
Another candidate for Vice-President, Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar has been defeated by two votes. He obtained 1,906 votes.
As informed by the committee, candidates for the same post, Dr Chandra Bhandari received 1,580 votes, Sujata Koirala 644, Mahesh Acharya 589 and Divyaswori Shah 132 votes.
NC elected the Vice Presidents as per its statute for the first time. Earlier, the party President used to nominate a vice president in the party.
As many as 4,689 delegates had cast their votes in the election as part of the 14th general convention of the historical Democratic Party.
Dr. Arzu Rana Deuba, spouse of party president and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba won the elections securing the third-highest votes of 2,536 under the woman open category. She is among nine women leaders elected as a member of the Central Working Committee of the ruling Nepali Congress.
Dr. Dila Sangraula (Panta) secured the highest number 2,885 votes followed by Pushpa Bhusal who secured 2,715 votes.
According to Nepali Congress Central Election Committee secretary Keshab Rijal, other women elected to the CWC from the same category include Ambika Basnet (2,339 votes), Ishwari Neupane (2,259), Sarita Prasai (2,096), Rama Koirala Paudel (1,858), Shushila Dhakal Acharya (1,814) and Rangamati Shahi (1,789).
Altogether 30 candidates were in the fray for the nine seats of the central members in the woman open category. Meanwhile, Pradip Kumar Sunuwar of Okhaldhunga has been elected as a central committee member from the minority group by obtaining 2,171 votes, according to the election results announced by the Nepali Congress Central Election Committee Monday evening. Of the five candidates vying for the single-seat under the minority group, Tikaram Lepcha of Ilam was his closest rival who got only 1,026 votes.
488 candidates were contesting for the 134 various post of office bearers and central working committee member positions in election in the 14th general convention of the Nepali Congress Party.
According to the central election committee of the Nepali Congress, five candidates had registered nominations for the post of the party President, seven for the post of two vice-presidents, six for the two general secretaries, and 19 nominations have been registered for eight assistant general secretaries.
As many as 548 nominations were registered for the 134 posts of office bearers and members of the new central committee of the NC.
Two of those who registered nominations for the bearers and 58 of those who vied for central committee members withdrew their candidacy. Two were elected central committee members from Province 2 unopposed.
With none of the candidates securing 51 percent of total votes, the voting for the election of President of Nepali Congress (NC) took place for the second round. Prime Minister Deuba was short of 82 votes from securing 51 percent in the first round.
Of the total 4,681 votes, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba received 2,258 votes. Similarly, Shekhar Koirala received 1,729 votes, Prakash Man Singh secured 371 votes and Bimalendra Nidhi and Kalyan Gurung got 249 and 20 votes respectively. A total of 2,341 votes were required to win the election.