Aspirants for the top post of Nepali Congress (NC) from the anti-establishment faction have resumed dialogue after recent awkwardness.
Senior Leader Ram Chandra Paudel, General Secretary Shashank Koirala, former general secretary Prakash Man Singh and central member Shekhar Koirala all know that Sher Bahadur Deuba will again be elected party president if they don't ally.
But all of them are not yet ready to renounce the claim for president. Shashank's recent comment that people outside Kathmandu don't even recognize Singh, who has been visiting different parts of the country to campaign for president, forced Singh to counter that he had received more votes for general secretary in the 12th general convention than Sushil Koirala who was elected president.
Shashank, Shekhar and Sujata Koirala had reportedly even agreed to announce Shekhar as the candidate for party president from the Koirala family. But Deuba talked with Shashank and the latter left for an unscheduled visit of Sankhuwasabha instead of holding a joint press conference to announce Shekhar's candidacy on Wednesday.
The three aspirants from the Paudel faction have all met Singh in the past few days. Paudel took initiative to end the awkward situation in his faction. He visited Singh at the latter's residence in Chaksibari on Thursday and reminded that there should be only one candidate from the faction.
Shekhar then reached Chaksibari on Friday where both the leaders urged the other to leave the post of president in a power sharing deal. Shashank reached Chaksibari on Saturday and corrected his recent comment, according to a source close to Singh.
Paudel, Shashank and Singh then met at Shashank's residence Saturday evening to discuss about consensus candidate. Shekhar was not present in the meeting as he was outside the Valley. The meeting, however, failed to reach any agreement.
Paudel put up a new proposal of him serving as president for a short time promising to make NC the largest party after all three levels of elections. But Singh and Shashank did not agree for the proposal of a short-term president that is not in accordance to the party statute.
The Paudel faction concurs that a single person should not serve both as party president and prime minister (PM) claiming that Deuba has not been able to perform effectively in the dual role. But all four want to become president saying they can allow another person to become PM.
The party is currently holding convention at the provincial constituencies and will hold that for federal constituencies on Monday and district convention in all the districts, apart from 14 where it has already been held, on November 26. The party is scheduled to hold provincial convention on December 2 and 3 before the general convention scheduled to be held from December 10-12 in Kathmandu.
The four leaders feel that agreeing on a consensus candidate for president would send a message that the faction is united and help the faction win the upcoming conventions. But no one seems ready to give up the claim for president yet.