By N24 Correspondent, KATHMANDU:- Despite challenges from internal factions associated with various camps, political analysts believe that Nepali Congress’s incumbent President and serving Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba will ultimately come out as the winner in NC’s upcoming General Convention.
Deuba’s challengers, including senior leaders Ramchandra Poudel and Shekhar Koirala, General Secretary Shashank Koirala, and former General Secretary Prakash Man Singh, have all formed an alliance to name a common presidential candidate, who could effectively challenge Deuba and defeat him at the end of the day.
The group of four, however, has not been able to agree for a single leader among them, as all of them – Poudel, two Koiralas, and Singh – want to be the president oneself.
Vice President Bimalendra Nidhi, a long-time company of Deuba, has deserted Deuba declaring his own presidential candidacy. Nidhi’s campaign, however, is not getting momentum due to his inability to expand the scope of his faction from the coterie of a tiny number of his supporters.
Central committee member Sujata Koirala was once interested in running against Deuba. These days, however, she seems to have lost her interest assuming that she would not be able to garner enough votes in the 14th General Convention.
In this backdrop, Deuba is up for some internal games of cajoling, convincing and setting up his team, where he would willingly distribute posts, except the president’s, to his rivals.
As per indications, there would be four candidates for the post of party vice president – Shashank and Sujata, General Secretary Purna Bahadur Khadka, and Vice President Bijay Kumar Gachchhedar. Among them, Deuba is most likely to support Shashank and Khadka, while Sujata and Gachchhedar may have to make an exit amid the lack of Deuba’s real support.
For the posts of two General Secretaries, Deuba will, most probably, be promoting his right hand Bal Krishna Khand and another stalwart Joint General Secretary Prakash Sharan Mahat. Deuba may have plans to manage his rival Krishna Prasad Sitaula giving him some party responsibilities – most probably the Vice President’s, while he may want to manage Gagan Thapa either in this convention or promising some plum post in the government.
Analysts, meanwhile, strongly believe that youth leaders Gagan Thapa along with Bishwa Prakash Sharma and Chandra Bhandari have not yet been able to find a camp for themselves and thereby, may lose the election badly.
Deuba may have some underlying needs and plans for his spouse and NC leader Arju Deuba, whom he wants to promote as his successor inside the party. If this Plan A does not work, Deuba would most likely attempt to convince Shashank Koirala to be his successor as per Plan B and thereby promote his interests and ambitions inside and outside the party. Chances are higher that Deuba himself will be the de facto heir of the Koirala clan promoted by former PMs BP Koirala and GP Koirala.
In any of the current situations, Deuba seems to have an upper hand in the competition, as he enjoys the lack of a serious challenge to his presidency. If there is no dramatic or major shift in the current balance of power, Deuba’s swearing-in as NC’s second-term president is unavoidable.
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