Deuba at the helm will be a misfortune for NC: Sujata

NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba has failed and thus should clear ways for new leadership and focus on making the party stronger.

Ishwar Dev Khanal

March 27, 2019

9 MIN READ

Deuba at the helm will be a misfortune for NC: Sujata
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Nepali Congress has a long history as a democratic party. Despite its ‘glamorous’ history, it now looks feeble on the political front. The party appears helpless following the demise of Girija Prasad Koirala. Khabarhub’s Jibaram Bhandari and Ishwar Dev Khanal talked with NC leader and Former Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala on contemporary politics. Excerpts:

Nepali Congress seems ineffective and powerless against the Communist. What’s your take on this?

There are many reasons for that. The main cause for it is the lack of a capable leadership to drive the party. Strong leadership should direct and operate the party. However, this is not happening. Frankly speaking, there is no leadership in the party.

It is sad to accept that that factionalism has gripped the party up to the grass-roots level. How can you expect a strong party in such circumstances? We need to end factionalism and I do not think the old leadership is capable of that. Thus, new leadership needs to come to the fore.

Moreover, the Nepali Congress used to carry a strong stance on nationalism, which had built faith in the people towards the party. The faith is diminishing with each passing day. The party has failed to take forward the three doctrines set by BP Koirala- nationalism, democracy and socialism. Thus, the party is in a critical juncture.

There are factions and sub-factions within the party. Current President Sher Bahadur Deuba is looking for another stint. There is the least possibility of the three members of Koirala family – Shekhar, Shanshak and you – coming together. Repetition of the leadership is likely. In such a context, how can the party get a capable leadership that can steer the party at this critical juncture?

It will be a misfortune for Nepali Congress if the same leadership returns to the helm. A timely change in the party is mandatory. If you closely observe the leadership, the same leadership is ruling the party for more than 30 years. Old faces have repeated. Party only becomes vibrant with timely changes. However, this is not happening. It is a high time for youths to steer the party out of crises.

It is sad to accept that that factionalism has gripped the party up to the grass-roots level. How can you expect a strong party in such circumstances? We need to end factionalism and I do not think the old leadership is capable of that. Thus, new leadership needs to come to the fore.

Can we assume that the three members of the Koirala family will stand together?

I am ready for that, as I do not have any greed for the post. I am ready for sacrifice and I do believe they will follow suit.

What will be the future of Nepali Congress if Sher Bahadur Deuba gets another inning as a President?

We face stern competition from Communist. If he gets another term in office, he should give up slowness and laziness. But, I don’t see this happening. His time is already up and he should leave his position for a new face.

Talking about religion, the party’s statute mentions Sanatan-Dharma (The Eternal Religion). One star out of four in our party’s flag signifies religious freedom. We should now focus on development rather than discussing religion as the Constitution has already barred forceful religious conversion. So, putting forth demands of reinstating Nepal as a Hindu State through referendum holds no meaning.

He has already failed and thus should clear ways for new leadership and focus on making the party stronger. The party faced a humiliating defeat in elections and he should take responsibility for that. More or less, we all are also responsible. Nonetheless, the main responsibility is on his shoulders. To revive the party, new faces should come to fore.

Can we say that Nepali Congress faced humiliating defeat as it left three doctrines set by its founding leader BP Koirala – nationalism, democracy and socialism and established secularism, federalism, and republicanism through a tie with Communist?

I do not think so. You cannot compare the 40 years old context with the present time. Now, globalization has shaped everything. Peoples Movement II would not have succeeded if Nepali Congress was a lone agitator. Co-work with Communist was the need of the hour. We should co-work with other forces if it benefits the country. The party is in the current situation due to itself. It is because of poor leadership. We should not pass the blame to others.

Talking about religion, the party’s statute mentions Sanatan-Dharma (The Eternal Religion). One star out of four in our party’s flag signifies religious freedom. We should now focus on development rather than discussing religion as the Constitution has already barred forceful religious conversion. So, putting forth demands of reinstating Nepal as a Hindu State through referendum holds no meaning. A referendum will invite bloodshed and grave situation in the country. Can a small country like Nepal withstand referendum? Impossible!

It is said that external forces play an instructive role in Nepal’s politics and Nepali leaders are forced to oblige owing to different reasons. Did you go through such a situation while you were in the office as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs?

I did not go through such situations, as I am an independent person. I did what I thought was right. I might have done something unknowingly but I always thought for the benefit of the country. When I was in office, the decade long conflict had recently ended and the situation was very fragile. Nobody neither pressurized nor instructed me.

Problems, if any, should be solved through convincing power. I have witnessed a lack of confidence and expression in Nepali leaders before foreigners. They severely lack convincing power too.

A small group criticizes Girija Prasad Koirala blaming that he betrayed the King politically by asking him to reestablish the dissolved parliament and opting for a republic. What is the reality? What is the cause for the country entering the republic?

Nepal entered republicanism due to the King. People have strong commitments for multi-party democracy and it cannot be wiped out from their brains. However, the King opted to curtail democracy. What happened at that time was right.

Nepal has gone through a different system and now need to be stable. Nepali Congress can play a pivotal role in that. Nepali Congress will revive and lead the country again.

There are accusations that the current government is working haphazardly as Nepali Congress has failed to come up with a strong Opposition. In such a situation, how can you be sure that Nepali Congress will revive and lead the country again?

Nepali Congress will revive once right persons reach in the leadership as the party has a long history and has been making its place in people’s heart since years. There are strong chances that the party will revive again. Party is full of power-mongers, thus Nepali Congress is going through such a situation.

It is said that foreign powers are flexing their muscles to bring instability in Province-2? What is your take on that?

I cannot point out reasons for bringing instability. But, I do believe Tarai will not split from Nepal. My heart says that Tarai people will stop the split. I completely disagree that foreign powers wish for the split.

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