Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba is under fire for not holding central committee meeting for more than nine months and running the party in accordance to the party statute.
The grand old party had held the 14th general convention in December 2021. It had announced to hold policy convention within six months of the general convention but it has yet to start discussion for that. Deuba is statutorily required to appoint treasurer within six months of being elected president but he has yet to appoint one and has been handling the party finances all by himself.
He has also yet to nominate 20 central members to complete the central committee. He has also not been able to complete the party’s departments and sister organizations.
The party, meanwhile, is statutorily required to hold central committee meeting in three months but Deuba has not held one for around 10 months.
Deuba initially delayed the central committee meeting after CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal broke the erstwhile ruling coalition with NC and forged a new one with CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli on December 25, 2022 over Deuba’s refusal to make Dahal prime minister (PM) first as per the prior agreement to take turns as PM.
He was vehemently criticized inside the party including by those in his camp for his failure to save the coalition, and did not convene central committee meeting then fearing fierce criticism.
But he has been able to revive the coalition and got NC leader Ram Chandra Paudel elected the president of the country. But he has still not convened central committee meeting.
“Central committee meeting has not been held for a long time. I hear about convening of meeting of office-bearers, but the party statute does not recognize meeting of office-bearers,” central member Nain Singh Mahar told Setopati. “There is stalemate in the party. That should be ended.”
He added that the party should have held election review and discussed issues like government’s performance and common minimum programs of the coalition in the central committee meeting to ensure greater ownership. “We could not achieve expected results in the by-elections. Leaders and cadres seem deflated due to incidents like this,” he added. “It is already late to hold discussion about how to make the party progressive by linking it with the people. Central committee meeting should be held to discuss such issues as well.”
NC Spokesperson and Deuba’s confidant Prakash Sharan Mahat pointed that internal discussions were being held about completing the party’s departments and sister organizations, and meetings of working committee formed by the central committee were held regularly. “Central committee meeting will be held in a few days, and decision to complete departments and sister organizations will be taken.”
General Secretaries Gagan Thapa and Bishwa Prakash Sharma had urged Deuba to soon hold central committee meeting during the latest meeting of office-bearers at Deuba’s residence Dhumbarahi a few days back. They complained that even they were under fire due to Deuba’s refusal to run the party in accordance to the statute.
“The party has not been functioning as per the statute. President Deuba is showing the working style of his previous term,” an office-bearer complained. “Departments were formed only toward the end of last term. Party works remain neglected with all the focus centered on the government.”
Deuba seems to be avoiding central committee meeting now with many leaders demanding suspension of central member and former home minister Bal Krishna Khand following his arrest in connection with the fake Bhutanese refugees scam. Deuba has been refusing to suspend Khand, a close confidant, pointing that Khand has just been accused and saying the party should wait for further investigation before deciding whether to suspend him or not.