The main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) will not postpone its general convention despite the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the preparation works including distribution and renewal of active membership, and integration at the eight levels as required by the federal structure.
The office-bearers' meeting on Sunday has decided to hold the 14th general convention from February 19-22, 2021 in Kathmandu as announced on December 27, 2019 but the pandemic will affect the election at the party's lower levels, according to NC Central Committee member Bal Krishna Khand.
The party has yet to complete integration at the eight levels as required by the federal structure, that had to be completed by mid-April, in 30 districts while active membership forms the foundation of its electoral system for selection of general convention representatives.
NC has called central committee meeting on Tuesday. "The office-bearers' meeting decided to hold the general convention in the announced date and discussed about changing the schedule for election at the lower levels," Khand added. "We will endorse the changed schedule through the central committee after additional discussion."
NC must hold the general convention in February 2021 as President Sher Bahadur Deuba has already extended his four-year term by a year as allowed by the party statute and the extension ends in February.
General Secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka, on instruction of Deuba, presented the tentative schedule for general convention during the office-bearers' meeting on Sunday. The elections at the lower levels will start in December if the schedule is endorsed by the central committee. The election was to start in October as per the schedule announced on December 27, 2019.
Distribution and renewal of active membership were to be completed by mid-April but NC has stopped all party activities since March 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The party had around 380,000 active members in the last general convention. The lower levels of the party will have to send the list of active members to the center where any dispute about active membership is settled. Election at the lower levels can only be started once the list of active members is finalized.