“NC will be the largest party in general elections”

Dhiraj Basnet

June 3, 2022


“NC will be the largest party in general elections”

Nepali Congress (NC) Vice President Dhanraj Gurung is a leader advocating for a collective leadership system. He represents the Dr. Shekhar Koirala panel.

Gurung, the leader of the third generation of the party, has been active in politics since the student movement of 2036 BS when he was just 14 years of age. 

Gurung, who is known for his openness while expressing his grievances, has been a critic of party president Sher Bahadur Deuba.

He has also been raising his voice against the system of electoral alliance. 

Gurung talked to Khabarhub’s Dhiraj Basnet about the current political situation and his party becoming the largest political party in Nepal in the recently-held local elections, among other issues. Excerpts:

Although the Nepali Congress has become the largest party in the local elections, it has lost some major seats. What is your take on this?

The result of the local-level election has given us a kind of enthusiasm. Compared to the previous local elections held in 2074 BS, numerically, we have won in many places this time. 

Now it is our responsibility to put an end to all anomalies and create a well-governed local government. 

This election has made us quite enthusiastic. Moreover, the election result has pointed out the need for us to improve and perform our duties and responsibilities more honestly. 

However, we also need to be more cautious while distributing tickets in the upcoming general elections. This result also shows that we still have some work to do in the management and responsibility of the leaders and party cadres.

The Nepali Congress lost strategically important cities like Dharan and Dhangadhi. How do you analyze it?

Dharan in the east and Dhangadhi in the west are both very important cities. These sub-metropolises were won by the Nepali Congress in the last elections.

However, the way it has lost now is a big challenge to Congress. The results have been quite unexpected for us. Independent candidates have won in Dharan and Dhangadhi.

This is something we must think about and review. This has shocked not only the NC but other parties as well. Where did we go wrong, what caused the independent candidate to win? We have noted this as a subject for review.

Independent candidates emerged victorious in Kathmandu along with Dharan and Dhangadhi. Doesn’t this indicate that parties are failing and disgust towards leaders is increasing?

Independent candidates have won local elections in some important cities, including Kathmandu. This has warned the parties to be vigilant and responsible.

It’s high time the parties corrected themselves. The rampant corruption seems to have upset the minds of the voters. My observation is that the people have chosen independent candidates to bring the political parties back to the right track. 

Is it true that the victory of independent candidates indicates people’s frustration with political parties?

This is true to some extent. The party and its leaders did not live up to the expectations of the people. Instead, the political leaders focused on fulfilling their vested interests and promoted corruption and misgovernance. 

People have alerted the parties through this local election. Now, if the political parties do not mend their ways, Nepali politics could go into another catastrophe. The people are looking for the result, not promises. 

You were one of the leaders who opposed the idea of an electoral alliance. But the alliance has proved to be a success for the Nepali Congress.

I am still stuck on my stance that forging an electoral alliance is the wrong idea. In a pluralistic parliamentary system, all political parties must go to the polls with their own policies, principles, plans and programs.

But, we had to accept the decision of the party. In terms of the alliance, we have looked strong in terms of numbers. It is an achievement achieved through the agenda of the Nepali Congress and the strength of the organization.

Another important reason for our victory is the fact that factional politics is not dominant in Congress this time. 

Will the result achieved by the NC in the local level elections be maintained in the elections to the House of Representatives as well? 

Definitely, we will be the first party in the upcoming House of Representatives elections. 

People will vote for NC because of its agenda, its role in saving lives during the coronavirus pandemic, and its efforts for vaccination. 

Will this electoral alliance continue in the election to the House of Representatives as well?

It depends according to the demand of the time and situation.