Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba has not gone to the party's central office in Sanepa since he became prime minister (PM) for the fifth time on July 13.
"He has not come to the party office since he became PM. He used to regularly come for party meetings and programs before becoming PM," an NC leader claimed.
He has held party meetings including central committee meeting at his residence in Budhanilkantha during the intervening period. The central committee meeting scheduled for today was initially set to be held at the party office but will be held in Budhanilkantha later on the day.
Chief Secretary of the party last Sunday had issued a notice saying the meeting will be held at the party office today. But central members have already been informed that the meeting will be held at the Deuba residence due to Deuba's busy schedule, according to Paudel.
There are reasons for Deuba to avoid the party office. Leaders and cadres from Rautahat including former minister of state for health Braj Kishore Singh, mahasamiti member Devchandra Mishra, general convention representative Uday Yadav and others have been staging a sit-in at Sanepa for almost four months protesting against what they claim to be distribution of active membership violating the party statute.
The party has already made the list of active members public ignoring their demands and they have been threatening to boycott the general convention if their demands are not met.
NC central member Dhan Raj Gurung told Setopati that today's meeting may have been shifted to Budhanilkantha due to the sit-in at Sanepa and also Deuba's busy schedule.
Deuba has been staying at the official PM residence in Baluwatar after becoming PM. He had held a meeting of party office-bearers at Baluwatar on the day he shifted to Baluwatar. But the ruling party has not held any formal party meeting at Baluwatar after widespread criticism of Deuba for following his predecessor Oli who held all the party meetings at Baluwatar except when his rivals in the then ruling CPN refused to attend any meeting held there.
The meeting of office-bearers and former office-bearers was held at Budhanilkantha on Saturday to take a decision on the proposal to be presented in today's central committee meeting. The central committee meeting has been called to endorse the schedule prepared by the party's election committee for the general convention to be held from December 10-12 in Kathmandu and to form sub-committees for preparations for the general convention.
Some NC leaders claim that the meetings have been held in Budhanilkantha due to open space there as per the safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. But NC Spokesperson Bishwa Prakash Sharma stated that central committee meeting has been held at Budhanilkantha as holding it at Sanepa would disturb the functioning of the election committee that has been making preparations for the general convention at Sanepa.
Secretary at the party office Prem KC told Setopati that repair and maintenance works including painting are being done at Sanepa. "The repair and maintenance works could not be completed due to the festivals. We cannot bring all the rooms at the party office into use now as a result," KC reasoned.
The party office has two big halls that can accommodate all 124 central members of the party.