Kalyan Gurung is one of the energetic and most capable youths. Incumbent Central Committee member of the main opposition Nepali Congress, Gurung had been a lifelong Nepali Congress member and groomed as a leader through Nepal Student Union, the student wing of Nepali Congrerss. He had been the NSU president as well.
Gurung opines that everyone who is qualified for the post can file his candidacy for the post of President, but it should not be merely a bargaining strategy. Here are the excerpts of an interview Khabarhub’s Chief Editor Govinda Luitel had with young and energetic leader Kalyan Gurung.
Do you think the 14th General Convention of the Nepali Congress will really take place in February-March?
Nepali Congress is holding its Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting soon. The Meeting will revise the general convention (GC) schedule so as to make it occur within March 15.
If renewal and distribution of active memberships and the conventions from Ward Level to Province Level are successfully held by February 12th, we can hold the General Convention on February 19th.
However, if we fail to make it by February 12th, we can’t hold the GC on 19th. The CWC meeting will make necessary decisions in this regard.
President Sher Bahadur Deuba is the mood to postpone the general convention. What do you think is the most responsible factor to postpone the convention — COVID-19 or the political infighting for the party’s central leadership?
Given the present context, COVID-19 is the main reason for the delay of the party’s general convention. To doubt it becomes wrong. Provided the transmission rate climbs down, we still believe that the gala event of the party can be held on the scheduled time, otherwise, we have to conduct it by June.
How do you interpret the internal manipulation to postpone GC?
I don’t see any manipulation like that in the party. It will be an extremist view to regard the postponement as a strategy to ward off the convention for good. COVID-19 is not a myth, provided the 14th convention is postponed it will be because of COVID-19 again. There is no need to search any other reasons provided it does not come under control.
Incumbent President Deuba seems interested in contesting elections again. Ram Chandra Poudel, Bimalendra Nidhi, Koirala brothers, Prakash Man Singh, Krishna Prasad Sitaula and others have been mulling over contesting for the party president. How do you see the future leadership of the historical and glorious party Nepali Congress?
The bigger the list of the people willing to contest as President, the stronger the party becomes. There should be a neck-to neck competition among most of the winners. Only then the party members get chance to choose the most suitable candidate.
There are three advantages of having many candidates contesting in the party. Firstly, the groupism will come to an end. This will be beneficial for the party. Secondly, the GC representatives get the chance to choose the best candidate from the list.
This will reinvigorate the party from bottom to top. And, finally the election campaign helps sensitize the party members and cadres and get them mentally reinvigorated about the party ideals.
In politics, people often talk about the transfer of leadership from one generation to another. NC is regarded as a live example where the nepotism can be at the worst. How is the leadership developed in the party? Has nepotism and favoritism been still playing key role in the party?
Leadership is not something to be bagged by begging, nor can it be bagged through sycophancy. One should compete for it.
Seven leaders above 70 years of age have led the party till now. There are seven to 10 leaders aged between 60 to 70 as well.
Be it the old generation or the new one, the leadership should be elected and established through competition. I am also a candidate of party President in the forth coming general convention, i.e. 14th General Convention. I will compete with the leaders of both old and new generations. Whoever is chosen will lead the party.
On what ground do you think you will be elected the party president? Will you please make it clear?
The active members and the general convention representatives of Nepali Congress have wished to see five things from the new leadership. Firstly, political justice; every member should be ensured that they get political justice.
Next important factor is political justice. All members should feel they will get political justice. Next one is political security.
In addition to these two, there should be political equality and just distribution. Fourthly, all members should feel there is good culture of sharing in the party.
Last, but not the least, the trust, all members should be convinced that the leadership can come out clearly on the issues of social, political and ideological issues. It should win the trust of the people that NC carries, is guided by and can best represent their ideals.
We should revive NC as a mainstream party having comfortable majority to run the government.
It’s often said that whether it’s in general convention or meeting, there is no discussion about the policies and programs and the ideological issues in Nepali Congress? What do you say about it?
If I am elected, I will end the existing trend of bargaining for post or power. Nepal’s politics got too polluted due to the sacrifice of party interest and national interest for petty personal interest. Provided I am elected to the post of NC President, I will change such culture.
As such culture is in politics as a whole here, there should be collective effort from all parties to end the prevalent pollution.
Provided the parties abide by their ideals and constitution and the nation is governed by the Constitution of the country, good governance will no longer remain a day dream.
The discussion in NC now should be focused on the policies, programs and the strategies to attain the party ideals.
Nepali Congress has been elected as the main opposition party in the parliament. However, the role is widely criticized as ineffective. The opposition is blamed to be too busy in bargaining for some appointments in the constitutional bodies. How do you take the criticism?
It’s not true. The criticism is ill-intent. The role as opposition party in the parliament is not unsatisfactory. It has raised the genuine agenda quite sincerely, however, the biased government has turned a deaf ear to the democratic system and the way of raising the agenda.
The parliament had been ended abruptly. We could not make our street protests to raise the voice as it is not possible due to coronavirus outbreak.
The democratic party that believes in parliamentary system has to raise the issues in the parliament and if it doesn’t work, has to take to the streets. Street is taken over by coronavirus and the parliament’s voice is suppressed by the government.
Besides, the NC leaders have been speaking in the media. Party president has submitted party’s concerns to the Prime Minister in writing.
There are so many capable young leaders in NC. They are also equally capable like you, what do you say to them?
I want to request all representatives to be bold enough to claim and contest for the post they are qualified for. I request them not to offer candidacy for bargaining and reserving certain seat in the party. I reiterate, ‘Don’t undermine your position by making it a matter of bargaining.’