Nepali Congress suffered a humiliating defeat in the elections to the House of Representatives and Provincial Assemblies held in November and December last year due to some suicidal activities and decisions of the party leadership. The voters punished the party in the First-Past-The-Post election although the party received almost equal votes to the then CPN-UML in the Proportional Representatives (PR) elections. The voters in general and the cadres and most of the leaders have blamed the leadership for the party’s defeat in the polls. However, the leadership and the cronies have been refuting the blame. They say the party lost due to electoral alliance between the then UML and the then Maoist Centre, and intra-party sabotage.
Fed up with criticism from the leaders and cadres from the rival faction that he was responsible for the party’s defeat, party boss Deuba has been warning the leaders and cadres who sabotaged the winning chances of many of party’s candidates of disciplinary actions. He has been reiterating to take disciplinary actions against the cadres and leaders who played a role to defeat the party candidates in each of his public speech. He reiterated the same while addressing a meeting in Dadeldhura the other day although he was greeted with hooting even in his home district this time.
Disciplinary action will serve as a tool to take revenge against the leaders and cadres of the rival faction for the party leadership. Accordingly, 65 of the 77 district committees of the party recommended disciplinary actions against about 300 leaders to the central committee. The disciplinary committee led by Ramesh Rijal also sought clarifications from the leaders and cadres accused of sabotaging the party candidates. However, when only half of the accused leaders had submitted their clarifications, Rijal tendered his resignation making the disciplinary committee dysfunctional. Although party vice president Bimalendra Nidhi said that the disciplinary committee would be reorganised and wrong-doers would not be spared, it looks likely that the party will not take any action against any leader.
Even during the second Constituent Assembly election held in 2013, many leaders were accused of having a role for the defeat of the party candidates. But they were given amnesty. This time too, the situation is not likely to be different.
Of course, sabotaging (antarghat) has been widely hatched in NC during all elections especially after the 1994 by-election in Kathmandu Constituency-1 in which NC’s saint leader Krishna Prasad Bhattrai had fallen prey to internal betrayal. The then party general secretary and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala had openly acted against party president Bhattarai. Since then, antarghat has been a common disease for NC candidates in each election. Even in the latest election, 25 to 30 party candidates of NC are said to be defeated due to antarghat.
NC has done little to cure this disease. Moreover, the party leadership itself creates a breeding ground for antarghatis by giving election tickets to the wrong candidates. When the leadership grants tickets to their nearest and dearest ones instead of to those recommended by the local committees, the locals naturally revolt against the decision. As such, taking disciplinary actions against the leaders and cadres who did not give their votes to Raju Thapa in Syangja, Arzoo Rana in Kailali and Daman Nath Dhungana in Bhaktapur may not do good to the party. Instead, the leadership that fielded the wrong candidates deserves the disciplinary actions first.