The 12th General Convention of the Nepali Congress on Tuesday (21 Sept) elected Acting President Sushil Koirala the party’s new president. Sushil secured 1,652 votes in contrast to his contenders Sher Bahadur Deuba 1,317 and Bhim Bahadur Tamang 78. Fifteen votes were declared invalid.
As per the party’s statute, a winning candidate must secure at least 50 percent plus one vote from the total turnout, which was 3,062 in Tuesday’s election. According to the Central Election Committee of the party, 20 representatives, including founder member Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, who was critically ill, remained absent due to various reasons. Bhattarai had written a letter to the Acting President a few days ago expressing his inability to attend the convention as, he said, the NC had drifted away from its original ideology of constitutional monarchy.
The election committee had prepared nine different ballot papers to simplify the election process. The papers were prepared to separate the posts of different categories, including the president, office bearers, and CWC members from the open and reservation quotas.
Unlike the election committee’s estimation that it would take 12 minutes in an average for a person to complete voting on the given nine ballot papers, the actual average time spent by a voter was 25 to 30 minutes. To speed up the election process, booth arrangements were made to enable over 40 voters to cast their ballot simultaneously.
Singh new NC gen secy; Yadav treasurer
The 12th General Convention of Nepali Congress (NC) on Wednesday (22 Sept, voting on 21 Sept)) elected Prakash Man Singh as its general secretary and Chitra Lekha Yadav as the party Treasurer for the next four year. Singh, a candidate of the party establishment panel led by Sushil Koirala, defeated his rivals Bimelandra Nidhi of Sher Bahadur Deuba panel and another candidate Narahari Acharya. In the final results of the vote-count conducted at the party headquarters in Sanepa, Lalitpur today, Singh bagged 1656 votes, Nidhi secured 1226 while Acharya was confined as 152 votes.
Meanwhile, Chitra Lekha Yadav of Deuba panel garnered 1557 votes to be elected as the new NC treasurer. Her rival Padma Narayan Chaudhari, of establishment panel, secured 1430 votes.
The new NC general secretary is the son of veteran NC leader Ganesh Man Singh.
Prakash Man win big boost to Sushil
For the second straight day on Wednesday (22 Sept), the Nepali Congress establishment bagged a crucial position in the party hierarchy, thanks to a 430-vote win by Prakash Man Singh over this closest rival Bimalendra Nidhi. Singh’s election as party general secretary follows Sushil Koirala’s win on Tuesday who beat three-time Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba by 335 votes to take the party helm for three years.
“Today’s victory proves that Sushil has grown stronger in the party,” said Chakra Bastola, a leader from the Third Front.
The Deuba faction might bounce back in the 61-member Central Working Committee when the vote count possibly resumes Thursday, but the Koirala camp has a stranglehold on office bearers.
The office bearer team comprises president, vice president (nominated by the president), general secretary, joint-general secretary (nominated by the president) and a treasurer. Chitra Lekha Yadav, who bagged the post of treasurer, is the only member of the Deuba faction in the core team so far. Given the expectations of his own faction, Sushil may not be able to give the two crucial nominations to Deuba-faction members, though that cannot be ruled out.
The new president has his task cut out, if he wants to ensure that party functioning is not marred by factionalism. To many, Deuba has become stronger—not weaker— after the GC elections, with a strong and loyal following.
As such, the most significant aspect of Singh’s victory will Sushil’s comfort in taking decisions as he won’t be facing a “mixed panel” of office bearers. “Sushil had problems working with a general secretary of another faction, but this is resolved now,” said Chakra Prasad Bastola.
However, the increased power of the Koiralas in the party could also create an adverse situation. “It all depends on how Sushil functions. If he sticks to old ways, the party won’t be strong,” said Prakash Sharan Mahat. “Poll results show that Deuba too has a strong support base.”
Singh’s critics say he is not much of a manager. “General Secretary is more of a managerial post and Singh being an inexperienced manager, Sushil could face serious problems,” said an NC leader.
Singh’s victory has, however, disproved that he had lost command over his own constituency in Kathmandu and has no support base in Tarai districts. “I am glad to get such wider support,” said a confident Singh after the results.”
[All reports by Anil Giri in the Kathmandu Post]