Deuba consolidates power in NC with win – The Himalayan Times – Nepal’s No.1 English Daily Newspaper

Deuba consolidates power in NC with win - The Himalayan Times - Nepal's No.1 English Daily Newspaper


Sher Bahadur Deuba’s victory against his nearest rival Shekhar Koirala in the run-off election for Nepali Congress president held here yesterday, presents him with opportunities as well as challenges.

Opportunities in the sense that he is among a few NC leaders who have won the party presidency for the second time and he has been able to consolidate his power in the party bringing his two close confidants, who had stood against him in the race for party president, into his fold.

Political analyst Chandra Dev Bhatta said while Deuba’s victory would not have much effect on the country’s largest democratic force, it would certainly give him more strength while dealing with the four other coalition partners. “We hear Deuba is talking of early elections. I think, this victory will give him a chance to reassert himself in his discussions with other coalition partners,” he added.

“Deuba had told NC general convention representatives that if he lost party presidency, coalition partners might pressure him to quit the government,” Bhatta said.

He said Deuba’s victory would also send a message to other parties that democracy was in essence a numbers game. He said Shekhar Koirala’s emergence as the second heavyweight leader in the party posed a challenge for Deuba to manage plurality of views within the party.

“Party leaders have accused Deuba of not running the party well and delaying formation of party departments.

Leaders also blamed Deuba’s leadership for the defeat in the last elections. Now we will have to see how Deuba tackles all these questions and whether or not he is able to silence his critics within the party,” Bhatta added.

Another political analyst, Uddhab Pyakurel, said the clear message of the NC’s 14th general convention would be known only after full results, but Deuba’s victory and Koirala’s defeat meant that Deuba would face more challenges managing factions within the party.

He said the support of three candidates for the top Nepali Congress post – Prakash Man Singh, Bimalendra Nidhi, and Kalyan Gurung – to Deuba in the run-off election meant that traditional ideas dominated the leaders’ views. “Some of these leaders had said that they would unite against Deuba, but when they saw that Koirala, whom they deemed their junior, won second highest votes, they decided to support Deuba, whom they had supported in the past,” Pyakurel added.

He said if Deuba failed to manage multiple factions in the party, he might not be able to take timely decisions on crucial matters.

Another political analyst, Tula Narayan Shah, however, said, “Seen from the point of view of marginalised groups, I think neither Koirala nor Deuba offers anything different on constitutional issues.

“As far as the ruling coalition is concerned, Koirala had also said that the current coalition should last till the next general elections,” Shah said.

He said the 14th general convention had ended the possibility of Ramchandra Paudel playing active role in politics.

“Paudel failed to win the confidence of leaders of his own faction – Prakash Man Singh and Shekhar Koirala. If he wants any political post, he can get it only with Deuba’s blessing,” Shah added.

A version of this article appears in the print on December 16, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.

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