Nepali Congress (NC) General Secretary Gagan Thapa has said that the grand old party lost votes in the Proportional Representation (PR) electoral system for the House of Representatives (HoR) due to its closed list of PR candidates.
There was widespread criticism of the NC leadership for including Arzu Rana Deuba and Manju Khand in the closed list of PR candidates even though their respective spouses Prime Minister (PM) Sher Bahadur Deuba and Home Minister Bal Krishna Khand were also contesting in the First-Past-The-Post electoral system.
In a video interview with Setopati on Monday Thapa, who has already declared that he will challenge NC President Deuba for the post of parliamentary party leader, has conceded that the PR list adversely affected the party in the election.
“NC’s votes would have increased significantly had it committed before the election that the next government will be led by NC, and old face won’t lead the government. Our erstwhile voters were angry after looking at NC’s PR list,” he has stressed.
“The rise of Rastriya Swatantra Party is a big disenchantment with the traditional parties. The new party would not have risen had the old parties assured the voters that there will be leadership change in accordance to the psychology of voters, and put forward the agenda of stable government and good governance. The new party has risen as we did not took decision that we should have taken. This is big dissatisfaction and rebellion against us.”
He has also reiterated that he will contest for the post of NC parliamentary leader to stake claim for PM. “This is the appropriate time to stake claim for PM on the basis of my experience. I have experience of becoming lawmaker thrice and running a ministry. I also have the vision, determination and plan about where to lead Nepal to along with this experience.”
He has refuted allegations that his claim for PM is a political stunt and termed that interpretation shallow analysis by those who don’t understand him and Nepali politics. “If we don’t fight within NC for that now, the party’s existence will be under crisis.”
He has stressed that he will not return back from his announcement to stake claim for PM and expressed hope that he will get the blessing of Shekhar Koirala to whom he pledged political allegiance. “Bishwa Prakash Sharma, Pradip Paudel and I have gone for the election with this agenda as per the aspirations of NC cadres and well-wishers for new leadership. We do not have the luxury of disappointing the general well-wishers.”
He has added that the current ruling coalition including NC, CPN (Maoist Center) and CPN (Unified Socialist) will lead even the next government pointing that he sees no chance of Maoist Center allying with CPN-UML, and stated that NC will not propose leader of another party as the PM fearing that some may opt to ally with other.
He has also swatted away the allegations of him allying with Rastriya Swatantra Party, that did not field candidate in his constituency of Kathmandu-4, to defeat common coalition candidates inside the Kathmandu Valley.
“Rastriya Swatantra Party did not field candidate even in the constituency of Sher Bahadur Deuba. Should my supporters allege that NC president resorted to setting to win himself and defeat those below him? Who are those spreading such rumors? If they are someone inside NC, they should come forward. To make such allegations is to undermine voters.”