Thapa, Sharma win Congress general secretary posts

Thapa, Sharma win Congress general secretary posts

Gagan Thapa and Bishwo Prakash Sharma have been elected general secretaries of the Nepali Congress.

Thapa represents the panel led by Shekhar Koirala, who lost the party president post to Sher Bahadur Deuba. Sharma, 50, fought for the post from the Prakash Man Singh camp.

Thapa secured 3,023 votes and Sharma secured 1,984 votes, according to the Central Election Committee of the party.

A total of 4,379 votes were cast during the voting on Monday.

There were six leaders vying for two general secretary posts.

Other contestants were Pradip Poudel, 44, and Prakash Sharan Mahat, 62. Both were contesting from the Deuba camp. Similarly, Minendra Rijal, 64, was contesting from the same panel Thapa was.

Rijal on Friday afternoon announced his resignation as the defense minister after preliminary results showed he was trailing far behind—in fifth place.

Rajaram Karki was contesting from Bimalendra Nidhi’s panel.

In the Nepali Congress, the general secretary is considered the second most powerful post after the party president.

Thapa had won his place in the Central Working Committee with the highest number of votes in the 12th general convention held in 2010.

Thapa was elected a Constituent Assembly member under the proportional representation in 2008. He was directly elected to Constituent Assembly in 2013.

He defeated CPN-UML’s Rajan Bhattarai in the 2017 general elections from Kathmandu Constituency-4.

He served as health minister from August 2016 to May 2017 in the government led by Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, which was backed by the Nepali Congress.

Thapa had lost to Shashank Koirala in the 2016 convention for the same post. There was a three-way fight between Thapa, Shashank and Arjun Narsingh KC, Thapa’s father-in-law.

Sharma, another winner, also comes from student politics just like Thapa.

Sharma led the Nepal Student Union, the student wing of the Nepali Congress, from 2000 to 2002. He was elected party’s Central Working Committee member during the 13th general convention held in March 2016.

He was appointed party spokesperson in January 2018.

Since then he was in the Deuba-led establishment camp. However, he decided to fight from the Singh camp after Deuba fielded Paudel and Mahat. Paudel is from the Krishna Prasad Sitaula camp.

Late on Wednesday night, Purna Bahadur Khadka and Dhanraj Gurung were declared party vice presidents.

Khadka represents the Deuba camp, while Gurung is from the Koirala group.

Gurung defeated Bijay Kumar Gachhadar, a contestant from the Deuba, by just two votes.

The Nepali Congress is holding its 14th general convention to elect a new leadership comprising the party president, two vice presidents, two general secretaries, eight joint general secretaries and 121 Central Working Committee members.

The grand old party’s convention—and the new leadership it will elect—is being followed closely. How the party elects its office bearers holds significance for national politics as well.

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