Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba seems to have broken the alliance of Koirala cousins against him.
General Secretary Shashank Koirala, and central members Shekhar Koirala and Sujata Koirala reportedly agreed to field a single candidate for party president in the upcoming general convention on Tuesday. But Deuba has managed break their unity for now.
The three Koiralas are first cousins—Shashank is son of founder of the party BP Koirala, Shekhar son of BP's brother Keshav Prasad, and Sujata daughter of BP's another brother Girija Prasad—and many well-wishers wish to see a unanimous candidate from the dynasty.
Shekhar, who is the oldest among the trio, had planned to contest for the post of general secretary in the last general convention but eventually did not contest and helped Shashank in the election for general secretary putting a condition that Shashank should support him in the 13th general convention.
Shashank reached Shekhar's residence in Basundhara Tuesday evening to discuss about consensus candidate. Sujata did not arrive but the duo talked with her over the phone. The three then agreed that Shekhar will contest for president this time and decided that announcement to that regard will be made in a press conference at Shashank's residence in Maharajgunj on Wednesday in presence of the trio.
But Shashank had a change of mind during the night and left for Shankhuwasabha on a chopper Wednesday. A party source claimed that a member of Shashank's secretariat informed Deuba about the deal of Koirala cousins in the evening itself.
Deuba, who is also prime minister (PM), then invited Shashank to Baluwatar for talks which resulted in the latter leaving for Sankhuwasabha on a chopper instead of attending the press conference.
Sankhuwasabha president of NC Deepak Khadka, who is close to the Koirala family but also has good relation with Deuba, has taken Shashank to the district. "The agreement about Shashank and Sujata stepping aside for Shekhar was to be made public though a press conference today. That could not happen after Shashank went to Baluwatar," an NC leader confirmed.
Sankhuwasabha has already held district convention and the party does not have any special program there but the party source claims that Shashank will stay there until Thursday.
Deuba seems to have calculated that he will face a huge challenge if the three Koriala cousins were to stand together when his long-time lieutenant Bimalendra Nidhi is set to contest for the top post this time.
Deuba, who has acted to be unperturbed by Nidhi's candidacy telling the latter to contest if he so wishes, has broken the unity of Koiralas at least for now. What exactly Deuba has offered to Shashank has yet to be known though.