The race for Parliamentary Party leader’s post has begun in Nepali Congress following the call for the first session of federal parliament. Former Prime Minister and Party President Sher Bahadur Deuba is the front-runner in this race. General Secretary Shashank Koirala and leader Prakash Man Singh too are eying the post.
With multiple leaders claiming party’s top parliamentary position, leaders had called for the meeting of Central Executive Committee on Thurday, but was cancelled at the last moment. Instead, the party has called a meeting of its parliamentarians representing both House of Representatives and National Assembly on Friday. The meeting of party’s lawmakers is likely to fix the date for the elections of PP leader.
NC plans to select its PP leader before the first meeting of House of Representatives (HoR) and Provincial Assembly which is slated to take place on March 5.
NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma said main agenda of the meeting is selection of PP leader. The PP leader serves as a main opposition leader in the Parliament and eligible to become the candidate of prime ministerial election.
Deuba has already started consultations to become PP leader on the basis of consensus.
“The first priority is to select leader on the basis of consensus, if it is not possible we will adopt democratic exercise (voting),” said Sharma.
Shashank Koirala has also expressed his desire to become PP leader on the basis of consensus. Though Koirala was elected from Ram Chandra Poduel camp in the party’s General Convention held in 2016, he is avoiding factional politics.
Koirala is not attending the factional meetings organised by both Deuba and Koirala faction. In the initials days after the completion of election, Koirala defended party leadership, however, in the recent days he has criticised party leadership. Few days ago, he said that there should be leadership change and upcoming convention will take final decisions.
Leader Prakash Man Singh who won election from Kathmandu-1 is preparing to contest election from Poudel faction. After Poudel lost the election, Singh remains the senior leader of faction. After the party faced a humiliating defeating in the elections, Singh has criticised Party President Sher Bahadur Deuba. He has pressed for Deuba to step down as Party President on moral grounds for the party’s loss in elections.
If there is election, according to leaders, Deuba is sure to win elections as he commands majority support in 63-member PP. In the election of First-Past-the-Post category, there was equal strength of both Deuba and Poudel faction.
However, there is clear majority in favour of Deuba among the lawmakers election under Proportional Representation (PR) category. According to leaders, out of 63 members of HOR, around 40 leaders support Deuba and the rest belong to the Poudel faction.
Deuba is going to contest the election of PR at a time when there are calls inside the party to handover the leadership of party to young generation. However, leaders close to Deuba are of the view that as the party has turned very weak after the election, there is a need of strong leadership and only Deuba can provide such leadership.
Along with PP leader, Deuba is also preparing to appoint some key posts of party such as Vice-President, General Secretary and Joint General Secretary. Though it has been more than two years since Party’s convention Deuba has not made appointments to those vital posts.