Nepali Congress (NC) Vice-president Bimalendra Nidhi has caused a stir in the main opposition party proposing to contest for president.
Nidhi made the proposal during a meeting of central members form Province 2 called by President Sher Bahadur Deuba on Saturday to start discussion for his re-election campaign.
Deuba gain held a meeting of central members of his faction from Province 1 and 2 on Saturday and those from Bagmati and Gandaki provinces on Sunday. He said he wants to again get unanimously elected for the party leadership and sought help from the central members assuring that he will make NC the largest party in the country.
He pointed at his experience as party president and stated that he will again contest for the top post as he is the only one in the party with national and international experience as a prime minister (PM), according to a central member.
Deuba argued that NC lost the last general election only due to alliance of CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) and falsely claimed that the party secured more proportional representation (PR) votes than other parties. "We were popular. Nothing has happened to NC organization. I will now make NC the largest party under my leadership. You all should help me," another member quoted Deuba as saying.
NC had won just 23 of the 165 seats in first-past-the-post system in the last election. The party won a total of 63 seats in the 275-strong House of Representatives (HoR) including 40 won through PR system.
Leaders from Deuba faction have told him to first deal with Nidhi who has clearly told Deuba that he will contest for the top post this time. Nidhi claims that Deuba had given his word to help Nidhi win the top post in the next general convention when Nidhi helped Deuba win the election in the last general convention.
"I have talked with Nidhi only yesterday. He said he will contest. I asked him to help me," Deuba told the leaders Sunday. "Don’t worry. I will again talk with him."
Central member Mohan Basnet told Setopati that Deuba will be the next NC president and added that all 14 central members from the two provinces including Deputy General Secretary Prakash Sharan Mahat, Chin Kaji Shrestha, Surendra Pandey, Ambika Basnet, Mahalaxmi Upadhyaya (Dina), and Bishnu Bikram Thapa unanimously endorsed Deuba for re-election.
"We should move forward taking even Nidhi together. Let's talk and decide how and in what role he will be taken together. Deuba must be the president. We will also take Nidhi together," Basnet stressed.
Deuba falsely claimed that the party has not been weakened under his leadership during the meeting on Sunday. "NC organization has not deteriorated a bit. NC seems to be weak due to losses by thin margin in the electoral constituencies," a leader quoted Deuba as reiterating. "The central politics is volatile now. It will be better if a person with national and international experience like myself leads the party in such time."
Deuba told the leaders that he has started discussion only recently and will formally announce candidacy only after consultation with everyone.