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NC settles intra-party rift; likely to form 14-member parliamentary board by Monday

KATHMANDU: With the approaching date for the election of the constituent assembly, Nepali Congress has settled intra-party dispute for picking-up candidates for the upcoming election of the Constituent Assembly. The party had internal dispute as there are many aspirants for the tickets for contesting the CA poll.

The Rival factions of NC settled in principle their differences over the nomination in the party’s parliamentary board, which is mandated to pick up the candidates for the CA poll, with leaders hinting at the official announcement of the 14-member board no later than Monday.

The development followed party President Sushil Koirala’s decision to induct six members into the board from senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba’s faction. The party’s statutory body is mandated for the selection of candidates in the national election. The party has been having intra-party dispute after Sher Bahadur Deuba faction walked away from the party and later joined the party some six years ago.

The announcement of the board has been delayed due a problem within the Koirala camp, according to leaders from both factions. As there are around a dozen leaders jostling for seats on the parliamentary board from Koirala camp, the party chief is struggling to select leaders in a way that will not create disputes ahead of the November 19 election. Ram Saran Mahat, Ananda Prasad Dhungana, Arjun Narsingh KC, Padam Narayan Chaudhary, Shekhar Koirala, Shanka Koirala and Sujata Koirala are among the leaders seeking nomination in the board from the Koirala camp.

Once Koirala finalizes the names and sort out issues surrounding the nomination process, a party’s Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting will endorse the nomination.

Despite the delay in the formation of board, the rival factions are busy preparing possible name lists of candidates from their respective camps. Koirala and Deuba factions are holding separate informal meetings for the purpose. But they have not sat together yet for preparing possible lists of candidates.

The possible names from the Deuba faction include Bimalendra Nidhi, Gopal Man Shrestha, Purna Bahadur Khadka, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki. “We have tentatively prepared our list of candidates after a two-day meeting of our supporters at Deuba’s residence,” a leader close to Deuba said. The meeting also entrusted Deuba to give the names of leaders to induct into the parliamentary board in line with the discussion in the faction. The party has received a list of 5,000 leaders from the district wings as possible candidates for the election, with sharp differences in many district committees.

The party has collected around 5,000 names from districts and affiliated organizations, the board will select 575 candidates, including 240 for the first-past-the-post system and 335 for proportional representation seats. The party leadership’s attempt to settle the issue before taking it to the CWC has delayed formation of the board and this has hampered the party’s election campaign, according to Acharya. Many aspirants have come to Kathmandu to secure their position for the upcoming CA leaving the party activities in the districts for the preparations of the poll. The intra-party rift has been causing a heavy toll to the oldest democratic party of the country. Various public opinions have shown that Nepali Congress would emerge as the largest party in the second election of the Constituent Assembly.

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