Home National NC polls now in hands of kingmakers

NC polls now in hands of kingmakers

KATHMANDU, Feb 27: With both the establishment and Sher Bahadur Deuba factions delaying announcement of their candidates for top party positions, some influential leaders have emerged as a key factor.

The establishment faction has been trying to come up with a single candidate for party president and the other posts, but has found it difficult to adjust the many aspirants to the limited number of posts.

A meeting of key leaders from the establishment side held at the Maharajgunj residence of NC leader Ram Saran Mahat failed to finalize unanimous candidates after the leaders stuck to their decisions to also run for the party posts. Aspirants for the post of party president from within the establishment faction, including Ram Chandra Paudel, Krishna Sitaula, Prakash Man Singh and Sujata Koirala, were invited to the meeting.
“The meeting was called mainly to forge consensus on single candidates from the establishment side, but could not take any decision as all the aspirants stuck on their known stances,” said Shekher Koirala.

According to another leader present at the meeting, Ram Chandra Paudel was proposed for candidate from the establishment side for president. But, this got nowhere after Sitaula declined to back off from his own candidacy.

Earlier, Sitaula had called a meeting of key leaders from the establishment side at his residence and urged them to support him.

Though most leaders in the establishment faction see Paudel as their official candidate, persuading some key leaders has been difficult for him.

As some are already defecting to the Deuba faction, retaining the support of some influential leaders has become a challenge for the Paudel team.

The party’s two general secretaries, Prakash Man Singh and Krishna Sitaula, have now emerged as possible kingmakers in the NC. Both of them have presented themselves as candidates for party president, and although both Deuba and Paudel are wooing them with various offers, they have remained silent.

Paudel has been offering other key positions to the two. Sources claim that Singh has been offered party vice-president and Sitaula the post of parliamentary party leader.

If Sitaula himself fights for the post of party president, this will affect the establishment faction and might help the Dauba faction. Sitaula is in regular consultations with youth leaders from the party such as Gagan Thapa. Thapa is likely to be Sitaula’s candidate for general secretary, claim NC sources.

The Koirala family is another big player in the NC. With its long-time contribution to the party, the Koiralas are influential in the party. And as no strong candidate for president has emerged from among them during this general convention, support from the Koiralas could be decisive.

Sashank Koirala, son of the late BP Koirala, is in the eye of Deuba, Paudel and Sitaula at this time. All aspirants for party president have been approaching the Koiralas, who have not openly announced their support for any of them.

“I wish to break the factionalism in the party, so I will extent my support only to a candidate who is up to the job,” Sashank told Republica.

However, the Koiralas have failed to take a united stand as Sashank, Shekher and Sujata Koirala are also eying major party posts.

Khum Bahadur Khadka could be another key player. Though Khadka was with the Deuba panel during the last convention, he has not voiced his support for any candidate so far. Khadka has formed a talks team to finalize matters.

NC leaders claim that the Koirala family can influence most of the voters at the general convention. Similarly, Singh and Sitaula could influence around 300 voters each. Khadka has influence over some 100.

But NC leader Nabindra Raj Joshi claims that no leader can influence more than 100 voters and the competition will be btween the establishment and Deuba factions as in the past.