Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba is not willing to bring the party general convention forward as demanded by rivals and wants to placate them by giving some positions in the sister organizations including Nepal Students Union and Nepal Tarun Dal, and party departments.
Deuba had a meeting with senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel and former general secretaries Prakash Man Singh and Krishna Prasad Sitaula for three hours at his residence Budhanilkantha Wednesday afternoon. He has also called a meeting with the leaders for Friday morning after Wednesday's meeting failed to yield results.
There is dispute inside the party after Deuba unilaterally gave himself a one-year term extension and announced date for the next general convention.
Deuba, whose four-year term expires in March 2020, got his term extended through the central committee meeting on December 27 using the extension provision of the party statute. His term will now expire on March 3, 2021. The meeting also decided to hold the next general convention from February 19-22, 2021.
The meeting extended the term of Nepal Tarun Dal led by Jeet Jung Basnet by six months. It also increased the number of departments to 47 from 28 and suspended clause 14 related to party membership effective only until the general convention.
The major bone of contention is dispute in the party after the central committee suspended the clause that allowed active membership only a year after receiving general membership, and ruled that the central committee can grant active membership at any time it deems appropriate.
The factions of Paudel and Sitaula believe that the clause has been suspended to ensure that Deuba faction emerge victorious in the general convention as only active members can participate in party elections.
But Deuba is unlikely to yield to the demands of Paudel and Sitaula factions to hold the general convention earlier. The Paudel faction, meanwhile, has secretly started preparations for the general convention.
Paudel has started to use the Anamnagar office of Social Democratic Study Center, an organization close to NC, to formulate strategy for general convention. General Secretary Shashank Koirala, and former general secretary Prakash Man Singh are also using the office.
Deuba had used the same office, albeit at a different building in Anamnagar, before the last general convention.
The current office is in the house of businessman Navaraj Bajgain whose elder brother Rajendra Bajgain is a mahasamiti member of NC.
Rajendra Bajgain had filed a complaint asking why Deuba should not be punished after the party formed a disciplinary committee but the complaint was not acted upon.
"The office that was used by Deuba for successful strategy before the last general convention has now gone to the Paudel faction. Paudel has already started internal discussion in the office," an NC leader confided with Setopati.
Another NC leader claims that Deuba has not gone to the office after being elected party president in the last general convention. "He holds meeting at the party office and his residence.. He does not have to secretly use a separate office," the leader explained. "Senior leader Paudel naturally may have started to hold discussion there as president Deuba no longer goes there. But senior leader Paudel does not need to open a separate office for strategy."