Nepali Congress: Internal conflict and pain of power displacement

Prof. Purushottam Dahal
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Despite being the largest party in the parliament, Nepali Congress is in throes of power displacement and internal conflict. There are three major issues that needs to be discussed thoroughly for the party. Firstly the need and result of the past coalition, secondly the position after recent election and finally an effective strategy for future.

Recent Elections and  Electoral Alliance:
No Congressman would have thought that they would be out of power and the alliance so abruptly. Congressmen had little to no idea that Communist Party Nepal Maoist, who had promised to form a joint government for another fifteen years, would stand against Congress immediately after the polls. It was against the value of democracy that various political parties divided the free and sovereign people of sovereign geography, as if it belonged to their ancestral property. Along with this, the question that was constantly raised was: Who will guarantee that after election, all the communist parties including the Maoist party will not unite and isolate the democratic power? Who will take the responsibility if that happens? However, power seeking brains of the leaders did not bother. Even the so-called different and transformative generation proved that it was not about principle, but the proportional share of the candidates and some relatives.

On one hand, those who share the history of the party are sidelined, whereas, those who have been in power for the past thirty years, have reaped interest of the history. The electoral alliance, was also formed with deceit to keep the power in their hands forever. It is necessary for the Nepali Congress to minutely review the alliance that kept the party members and public in dilemma. Those who wanted candidacy from Congress and stood to vote for tree were taken into action by the party. Till this date those who speak against the unprincipled coalition are being silenced.

However, the Congress inspired millions of youth, who joined the Congress, to vote for another party. This move will be difficult to reverse.

Nepali Congress did not field for federal candidates in 76 seats and about 130 seats in the province. At the time of the 2074 elections, about twenty-seven lakh youths in the age group of 13 to 18 years were voters for the first time and more than half of them were likely to vote for the Congress. Instead of recruiting its own voters to the party, the Congress issued an order to recruit them to another party. The party should have trained its members and continuous recruitment is also necessary. The Congress inspired millions of youth, who joined the Congress, to vote for another party. This move will be difficult to reverse.

Contrary to the parliamentary system and principles, some of the candidates played an unseasonable instrument by declaring themselves as candidates for the post of Prime Minister after the election. The new claimants not only rejected the role of older generation, they saw the possibility of rising to power as a means to close the door for older generation. This affected the election results in general. Those who rejected their seniors could not win the hearts of the new voters. This is the also the reason for low numbers of proportional votes. The inclusivity of leader’s near and dear ones in proportional representation served to increase the vote for the opposition. Congress has also suffered due to partiality in candidature, lack of discretion in proportional candidacy, alliance with Maoist, unpopular steps of the chairman, huge expenditure among others in elections. Congress is currently similar to a tree with rotted roots, yellowed leaves and rotting trunk covered with ants. Congress does not have any diplomatic relationship with national and international powers.

There is no organized secretariat in Nepali Congress. There is a building and some very hardworking secretaries, but, the Congress has not been able to take the form of the secretariat of the national party. The secretariat has become an aged den. Internally, these issues should have been reviewed before the elections. Emergence of other parties, establishment campaign and voter mood can still be reviewed after some time.

Despite the slogan of unity during the election, Deuba or the Nepali Congress did not seem to be able to count the leap made by Prachanda.

Election results and current situation:
Although Nepali Congress got good results in the election, it could not get the required majority. Proportional votes decreased due to aforementioned issues. As no party received majority, the government will belong to a coalition. Even if the government was to be formed under the leadership of Nepali Congress, the story would have been the same and worse. This result may be pleasing for those who see the future of parliamentary democracy, as uncertain, as it is today, However, it is a sad situation for the supporters of the parliamentary system as no party can single handedly run the government. The Congress was left out of the coalition despite opening every door of opportunities to get into power. Who is to blame? The first reason is Chair Sher Bahadur, the second being Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, the third is KP Sharma Oli, the fourth place goes to Congress officials, the fifth reason is other small parties and the final reason is the loss of the leadership of the government that is about to come to the hands of Congress due to foreign interests.

Despite the slogan of unity during the election, Deuba or the Nepali Congress did not seem to be able to count the leap made by Prachanda. He has been unpredictable in his moves throughout his political journey. Since 2062, many times he has decided to switch between collaboration. Congress could not evaluate the tendency of Maoists to seek power at any cost. Maoists understood well the essence of the electoral coalition and used the opportunity to get in power. Deuba who went to court to seek an order, established the five-party electoral alliance, desperately is out of the power now.

Congress who lost power and government in 2074, got some relief with the dissolution of the Parliament in 2078. Restoration of government and the split of the Communist Party was an opportunity for democratic Congress. But The U-turn of the Maoists towards UML have created a deeper gap for the Congress. This incident showed mirror to the leaders of Congress who lack far sightedness while decision-making. Nepali Congress has lost its credibility. Even though they have lifted the reins of power with their own hands, the pain of having to put it on someone else's head is visible in the Congress.

Possible reasons for the displacement of Congress are MCC, Citizenship Bill, BRI etc. It was clear since the beginning that the coalition government would be difficult for the Congress leadership to succeed in implementing the sum of different interests. Now, it has reached the shoulders of the big and revolutionary communist parties of Nepal. In other words, the Congress had to stay out of power at any cost and it happened.

Due to the conflict between the young and older generations Congress has reached to a state of stagnation.

Appropriate track for Congress:
What is the future path of the Congress in this situation? The answer to this question is not easy. Due to the conflict between the young and older generations Congress has reached to a state of stagnation. It has been a long since the Congress abandoned the practice of reaching the party office, gathering and discussing topical issues. It is essential to make the secretariat sound and all the officials should be present at the party office.

It will be in the favor of the party to immediately include those who were disciplined for their expression of dissatisfaction and demanded a candidate of their party in election. Building the structure of the departments in accordance with the party constitution, congress and leadership selection of fraternal organizations, formation of central policy research and nationwide training campaign can boost the energy of the Congress. It is necessary to make a collective effort to keep the party free from nepotism, adultery, corruption, ego, ownership and others.

It is necessary to keep on expanding the blueprint of the organization while respecting the contribution and cherishing the innovation. Activism while sitting in the opposition, presence in parliament and projection of ideas are also considered important. Therefore, instead of holding a meet and pointing fingers at each other, if everyone can evaluate their part and be responsible, Congress can revive to it’s potential. Otherwise, there is no option to the downfall.

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