Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba has resolved the intra-party dispute without bringing the party general convention forward as demanded by rivals who have been placated with some positions in the sister organization Nepal Students Union (NSU).
Senior leader Ram Chandra Paudel has agreed that the next general convention can be held in February 2021 while Deuba has agreed to bring district elections forward, according to a central committee member. "The central committee meeting will be held on Monday to formalize the deal," the member stated. .
NC Spokesperson Bishwo Prakash Sharma confirmed that the dispute is near resolution and all the issues will be resolved through the central committee meeting on Monday. "Everyone will enthusiastically participate in the Monday meeting," he added.
General Secretary Shashank Koirala and Purna Bahadur Khadka have been handed over responsibility to prepare the agenda for Monday's meeting. Minendra Rizal and Ramesh Lekhak will assist them.
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.
The Paudel and Sitaula factions were demanding that the general convention be held by the end of 2020. They have been boycotting all central committee meetings after Deuba presented proposals including increasing the number of party departments to 51 from 28, and completing Nepal Tarun Dal, Nepal Students Union among others to the central committee meeting for discussion on December 12.
They will now attend the Monday meeting after Deuba seemed positive to bring the district election forward and form a committee to probe active membership.
But the main reason for the truce seems to be sharing of spoils in the NSU that has been in turmoil ever since Deuba proposed to hand over the reigns of the student wing to 50-year-old Rajeev Dhungana of Sunsari despite the NC central committee passing a statute that imposed an age-bar of 32 years for NSU office-bearers.
The Paudel and Sitaula factions have now accepted Dhungana as NSU president after Deuba offered to give vice-president and general secretary to the rival factions, according to a party source.