CPN-UML standing committee member Shankar Pokharel has expressed confidence that the cadres will evaluate the role he has played when the party faced challenges.
Chairman KP Sharma Oli's lieutenant Pokharel is considered a contender for general secretary in in the 10th general convention to be held from November 26-28 in Chitwan but he has not publicly staked claim for the post.
He refused to stake claim even in the video interview with Setopati on Monday but he gave ample hints about that. "My role has been expressed in the context of national politics. I don't feel there is much difference between remaining in the certain leadership posts and playing that role," he told Setopati. "Leadership has already been demonstrated on the basis of who among us has played what role in the context of protecting the leadership, taking initiative for fresh people's mandate, protecting the party and unifying the party ideologically and politically."
He talked off challenge to Oli for party chair by Vice-chairman Bhim Rawal as mere procedural pointing that Oli has already been established politically. "The party has already accepted KP Oli for another term politically. If friends challenge him, that is only procedural. That is not a political challenge," he stated. "All the representatives have the right to challenge KP Oli in accordance to the party statute. But we should also understand the psychology (of cadres) across the country."
He opined that the team that played a main role while the party faced challenges is basically the main team and added that the general convention will only technically endorse that.
Party leaders were earlier anticipating that party chair and all office-bearers will be chosen in consensus and election will be held only for central members. But there are many aspirants for the limited office-bearer positions and it looks unlikely that they will be elected in consensus.
Some are calling for increasing the number of office-bearers, that the statute has currently limited at 15, to accommodate all the aspirants but Pokharel said the party has not entered the issue of raising the number.
He stated that the majority of leaders want to play a role in party building by coming in leadership. "We will not prohibit anyone. If more than one candidates come forward with leadership aspiration, it will go into process. Representatives will conclude that through the process."
He conceded that there are many aspirants for other posts of office-bearers more than those for party chief but pointed that there is a difference between the aspirations expressed now and at the time of filing candidacy. "It will be considered registration of candidacy if that remains until the time to withdraw candidacy. There will be room for consensus until then."
He reminded the party history of new leaders entering in responsible positions when the main leadership is repeated. He pointed how a new person (Ishwar Pokharel) came in as general secretary when the then general secretary (Madhav Kumar Nepal) became chairman in the eighth general convention and the existing general secretary (Ishwar) was repeated as general secretary when a new person (Oli) became chairman in the ninth.
"We have been injecting dynamism by establishing new persons in other positions when the main leadership is repeated. That is probably possible even in this general convention."