KATHMANDU, AUG 31 – Nepali Congress leaders are sharply divided over how to deal with the current political and constitutional crises that came up after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly (CA) on May 27.
In a meeting of the Central Working Committee of the party on Thursday, some members prescribed fresh elections as an alternative to end the current deadlock, while others stood in favour of revival of the CA.
It looks like leaders of the establishment faction who lost the 2008 CA elections are in favour of fresh polls, while leaders who won the elections are advocating for a revival.
However, all leaders from the Sher Bahadur Deuba faction are in favour of CA revival. Commenting on a political paper presented by party general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Vice Chairman Ram Chandra Poudel said the party should stand for CA revival.
Poudel, who is piling pressure on party President Koirala to nominate him as the prime ministerial candidate, said political parties must first forge consensus on contentious issues of the new constitution and revive the CA to endorse the statute.
Koirala’s priority is fresh elections. However, speaking at a three-party meeting on Wednesday, he said the party is ready to discuss all alternatives.
The Deuba faction is of the view that fresh elections are not possible without the revival of the CA for some time to amend the interim constitution.
Leader Bimalendra Nidhi focussed on CA revival, but suggested that the party leadership keep all options open. Along with Poudel and Nidhi, leader Gopal Man Shrestha also urged the party leadership to stand for CA revival.
However, Nidhi expressed dissatisfaction over a decision taken by a meeting of the party’s district presidents last month that suggested that the leadership go for parliamentary elections. According to one leader, Nidhi said the decision was made under the guidance of some top party leaders.
The Deuba faction also objected to the district presidents’ decision that said that the party cannot give up the agenda of promulgating a new constitution through the CA. Leaders said the decision was a blunder as it gave the message that the NC was against the agenda of the CA.
Leaders Arjun Narasingh KC, Mahesh Acharya, Bala Bahadur KC and Narahari Acharya, however, said the party should stand for fresh elections as there is no meaning in reviving the CA. They suggested that the Interim Constitution be amended through ordinances and the party go for parliamentary elections.
Narahari Acharya said there should be fresh elections to the CA that will promulgate a new constitution within a year and then transform itselft into a parliament for the next four years.
The CWC meeting will continue on Friday.Ekantipur