CPN-UML standing committee member Raghuji Panta has staked claim for vice-chairman in the upcoming 10th general convention.
Panta, who was defeated in the election for deputy general secretary in the ninth general convention, told Setopati that he met Chairman KP Sharma Oli to stake his claim for vice-chair in the 10th to be held from November 26-28 in Chitwan.
"There is no chance of contesting for the post below deputy general secretary. I am holding discussion to explore chances for vice-chairman," Panta added.
Panta was long close to Madhav Kumar Nepal and had contested in the last general convention from the Nepal panel. He had famously given a word to Nepal that he would remain with Nepal even if nobody were with Nepal but he did not join CPN (Unified Socialist) formed by Nepal after splitting from UML.
He said that there would be no reason to disagree on his claim if the party leadership decides to take along all 10 standing committee members from the erstwhile Khanal-Nepal faction together.
The then warring factions of UML had signed the 10-point deal for party unity on July 11. Ten second generation leaders including Panta, Bhim Rawal, Ashta Laxmi Shakya, Surendra Pandey, Ghanashyam Bhusal and others didn't join the new party registered by Madhav Kumar Nepal after UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli expressed commitment to implement the deal and return the party to the state before unification with CPN (Maoist Center).
But Oli has renounced the 10-point deal and recently urged the dissident leaders to not talk about it pointing that the deal was signed to keep Nepal in the party implying it has no relevance now that Nepal has formed another party.
Panta pointed that Oli wants to pick a team unanimously. "We will cooperate if he makes a balanced team," he stated. "The number of office-bearers can be increased to include friends who should be included and excluding whom would send a wrong message. Number of vice-chair and deputy general secretary can be increased. Some parties have 4-5 general secretaries, That can also be increased. Vice-chair can be increased to 7-8."
He conceded that important office-bearers from many places have left the party and said the party should look to stop the exodus. "Bhanubhakta Joshi who took part in the statute general convention joined Unified Socialist. Such a situation was created that he left. Some friends can leave if they don't get warmth and appropriate environment."