Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba has brought up the issue of loss of his detractors in the last general election to hit back at them ahead of the party's general convention.
The party under Deuba suffered a humiliating loss in the last general election with most of the senior leaders losing in the first past the post electoral system but he won from his constituency in Dadeldhura. He has again used that fact to attack detractors as the party nears general convention where—leaders like Ram Chandra Paudel, Krishna Sitaula and Shekhar Koirala—all of whom had lost in the general election—look to challenge him.
General Secretary Shashank Koirala and former vice-president Prakash Man Singh are the only aspirants for the top position who had won in the general election while even Deuba's lieutenant and Vice-president Bimalendra Nidhi, wo is urging Deuba to make way for him this time, had lost the election.
He has used the loss of leaders in the general election—that the party contested under him as the largest party following victory in the previous election under his predecessor Sushil Koirala—to attack his opponents even during a virtual discussion of intra-party matters ahead of the impending general convention displaying no sense of responsibility in the party's loss in the election under his leadership.
Central member of NC Chandra Bhandari, who had lost in the general election to current Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali of the-then CPN-UML from Gulmi-1, talked about the general convention during the virtual interaction with leaders and cadres from Province 5 on Thursday.
"The day has arrived to give an ideological drive to the party putting the country in the head and the people in the lap. We respect the party and leaders. Dear president, do give us responsibility, we will hold the general convention using modern technology," Bhandari stressed. "Not only that dear president, we will hold the general convention without contesting for any post. There are thousands of people in the party with such dedication and willingness to sacrifice. Should they get equal opportunities and justice or not? This question has led to internal betrayal in the party, made NC weaker."
Deuba, who was scheduled to speak after hearing all the participants, then decided to respond to Bhandari immediately. He stated that he cannot go beyond the statute even if he so wished and assured that the general convention will be held.
But he did not stop there and went beyond the issue of general convention and took a swipe at Bhandari for losing the general convention. "I have one request. Please do win election tomorrow. It's the people who are big in Nepal. The people are masters of the country," Deuba said. "Anybody can criticize me. Opposing me is not a big deal. You go to the people and win the election. Just do that."
He has used the same argument against other leaders including Paudel, Sitaula and Shekhar Koirala, when they criticized him for the party's loss in the general election, pointing that he won his constitunecy while they lost theirs.
Deuba also complained that the party leaders and cadres are slamming him and not Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. "The surprising thing now is one can slam Sher Bahadur now. Everybody does that. But nobody can criticize Oli. The situation has come to that. Nobody speaks against Oli but everyone speaks against Sher Bahadur. One can and has rights to oppose in a democratic party."