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The NC votes

Sunday, March 6th, 2016


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Representatives to the NC convention line up to cast their votes at the City Hall of  Kathmandu on Sunday. Photo: RSS

The Nepali Congress, the country’s oldest party and currently the largest in Parliament, held a vote to elect its new leadership in Kathmandu on Sunday.

More than 3,000 representatives to the 13th General Convention of the party cast their votes to elect the new President, General Secretary, Treasurer and 61 Central Working Committee (CWC) members.

The representatives, elected from constituencies across the country and different wings of the party, had to select 64 CWC members from as many as 312 contenders.

Running for the NC President are Ram Chandra Poudel, Sher Bahadur Deuba and Krishna Sitaula. While Poudel and Sitaula are from the party establishment, Deuba is the leader of the anti-establishment camp.

As the vote counting begins, here are some notable strengths and weaknesses of the three contenders for the NC presidency:

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Poudel casts his vote. Photo: RSS

Poudel’s strengths

-He has always lived a simple life and his commitment to democracy is unwavering

-Was viewed by the late BP Koirala as a potential leader

-Has always been close to the NC establishment

-Supported by influential NC leaders like Prakash Man Singh, Ram Sharan Mahat and Mahesh Acharya

-Seen as the NC establishment leader

Poudel’s weaknesses

-Accused of working towards safeguarding the Koirala legacy in the party

-Has to manage a split establishment camp

-Blamed for causing trouble within the NC establishment on several occasions in the past

-Lacks understanding of the Madhes or Madhesi issues.

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Deuba at the election venue. Photo: RSS

Deuba’s strengths

-Honest about his political principles

-Viewed by Madhesis as an accommodative leader

-A practitioner of inclusive democracy

-Always ready to support the cadre

-Armed with a strong team of political managers

-International exposure

Deuba’s weaknesses

-Lacks support from the establishment camp

-Accused of dividing the party and surrendering democracy to the royal palace

-Charged of nurturing group-ism and institutionalising corruption within the party

-Belongs to the Far West region, which has fewer representatives to the NC convention

-Accused of living the life of an elite

Sitaula’s strengths

-Is hard-working and always means what he says

-A good orator

-Involved in key political negotiations

-A major contributor to the peace and constitution making processes

Sitaula’s weaknesses

-Over ambitious

-Seen by many within the party as a puppet

-The junior most among the youth leaders who worked with BP Koirala

-Performs exhaustive cost benefit analysis before taking any action

-Known as unsupportive of the cadre


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