Sushil Koirala at the Helm of Nepali Congres: The Road Ahead

What does the strong showing of Sushil Koirala panel mean for the Nepali Congress and the broader national politics?

By Akhilesh Upadhyay

sushil koirala of nepali congress
At least in short term, Sushil Koirala’s election is less likely to have a more telling impact on national politics of Nepal than that of the three-time Prime Minister Deuba’s would have had.

The much delayed Nepali Congress General Convention is finally done with. For now, the battle for succession is over. It is another Koirala. Acting President Sushil Koirala, 71, has consolidated his hold on the Grand Old Party as the elected chief for the next three years. Also, the Koirala panel holds a majority in the party’s central committee. Prakash Man Singh beat the much fancied Bimalendra Nidhi in the crucial race for the General Secretary.

What does all this mean for the NC and the national politics at large?

But first let’s gloat on the success of Gagan Thapa, 34, who got the highest votes at the GC. Gagan made his mark in the party—indeed the national politics—as a fiery orator, a student leader, taking squarely on the NC establishment in the early 2000s. He rode high on reformist agenda but, unlike so many other leaders, both young and seasoned, he had the gift to communicate his ideas effortlessly in large public rallies and the fast mushrooming political TV talk shows. The royal takeover in 2005 only gave him a broader stage to exercise his oratorical skills and expand his national reach. Gagan’s mass appeal does not just come from his youth, which is obviously a huge asset. He has also been quick to move beyond his party veterans (and many young leaders) who speak a very convoluted political jargon—narrow-minded, partisan, and mostly suited for closed-door intra-party debates—uninspiring to the political centre, and indeed the apolitical class. Continue reading Sushil Koirala at the Helm of Nepali Congres: The Road Ahead

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Gagan Thapa: Most Favoured in Nepali Congress

By Kamal Raj Sigdel

gagan thapa nepali congress leader
With 2,061 votes in his kitty, Gagan Thapa, 34, stands out as the most favoured among the 25 new Nepali Congress Central Working Committee members elected from the open competition.

Gagan Thapa means business. At a gathering of party colleagues and friends before the Nepali Congress General Assembly last week, the young Turk said he was confident of victory in the party’s central working committee (CWC), “The challenge for me is to garner the highest number of votes.”

The votes were all counted on Monday (27 Sept). And true to his words, he was the No. 1. With 2,061 votes in his kitty, he stands out as the most favoured among the 25 new CWC members elected from the open competition.

However, this was not a surprise for many inside and outside the party. For, it was discernible before the election that the young man had managed to shore up support from a multiple sections of the party’s constituencies, including the youth, the establishment faction and obviously from his father-in-law, Arjun Narsingh KC, who stood only second after him.

Thapa himself, however, believes that his success is the reward for his loyalty to the party. “I remained disciplined at testing times,” said Thapa, whose request for a ticket to fight for the 2008 Constituent Assembly (CA) polls was turned down by then party president Girija Prasad Koirala. He was later nominated as a CA member from the proportional representation quota. Continue reading Gagan Thapa: Most Favoured in Nepali Congress

Nepali Congress General Convention Message: Unity Essential

By Anil Giri
[List of winning candidates]
For the record: With the final election results of the Nepali Congress on Monday (27 Sept) giving a verdict for a mixed composition of its 61-member new Central Working Committee (CWC) for a four-year term, maintaining ‘unity’ and working in tandem on national issues will be a serious challenge to both the Sushil Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba camps. The neck-to-neck competition and sizeable representation of the Deuba camp (29 CWC members) in the CWC may serve as a strong opposition to the Koirala camp (32 CWC members) in the party.

As the elected president, Koirala has the authority to nominate another 21 CWC members, subject to the approval of CWC. Many party insiders are hoping that the president uses his prerogative to heal the party after a divisive election.

One interesting feature of the election is that a majority of the new faces in CWC from the open and zonal seats are of the Deuba faction. Shanker Bhandari, Manmohan Bhattarai, Surendra Pandey, Jeevan Bahadur Shahi and Kishor Singh Rathor are the pro-Deuba new faces in the CWC.

The Koirala camp has secured 14 seats in the open category, 9 in zonal seats, 10 in reserved seats while the Deuba camp bagged 11 in the open category, 5 in zonal seats and 12 in reserved seats. There is speculation that some elected CWC members who contested the election from the Koirala camp but had been close to the Deuba camp, could return to the Deuba faction. Continue reading Nepali Congress General Convention Message: Unity Essential