Koirala-Deuba,Congress crisis likely to deepen

KATHMANDU, AUG 18 – A crisis in the Nepali Congress seemed to deepen on Friday, with party President Sushil Koirala deciding to stick to his decision to form 42 departments in the party and appoint their chiefs, a move opposed by the rival leader Sher Bahadur Deuba.
Koirala said the decision was taken with support from a majority of Central Working Committee members.
The Deuba faction is all set to respond to this decision with a note of dissent. The camp has termed the decision an “unfortunate and unacceptable” one that will seriously affect party unity.

According to leaders, more than a dozen Congress leaders aired their views in the party’s CWC meeting on the appointments.
“I waited for two years for consensus, not anymore. I declare the endorsement of the proposal,” a leader quoted Koirala as saying in the meeting.
Leaders from the Deuba faction said they were not allowed to express their note of dissent in the meeting. “As we were not allowed to express dissenting views in the meeting, we will register a note of dissent at the party office,” said leader Prakash Sharan Mahat. The Deuba faction also said they will take their views to the party’s Mahasamiti meeting.

Central Committee member close to Koirala, Badri Pandey, said it would have been better had the proposal been endorsed unopposed. “However, it will not affect party unity,” he said. The intra-party rift reached a climax after the newly-appointed department chiefs and zonal coordinators loyal to Sher Bahadur Deuba resigned en masse on August 15. On July 28, almost two years after the party’s 12th General Convention, had nominated 42 department chiefs and 14 zonal coordinators. The Deuba faction opposed the move, claiming that Koirala had no authority to form more than 30 departments as per the party statute.
Deuba faction leaders say it has become increasingly difficult for them to remain in the party as the Koirala faction has been “intolerant” to them. A leader close to Deuba said some “selfish and narrow-minded” leaders are trying to corner them. The CWC meeting is scheduled to discuss issues raised by ethnic leaders in the party from Saturday.
A panel led by Central Committee member Bhim Bahadur Tamang has prepared a proposal on how to address the issues raised by indigenous leaders.KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI,ekantipur

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