Too many PM hopefuls in Nepali Congress: Who will call the shots?

Sher Bahadur Deuba, Dr Shekhar Koirala, Gagan Thapa, Ram Chandra Paudel, Dr Shashank Koirala and Prakash Man Singh are the major aspirants. But it’s not so easy.

NL Today

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: As the election results have shown a tentative picture of representation of political parties in the new parliament, a question facing the people is who will lead the government and who will become the prime minister of the new government. One very likely scenario is Nepali Congress leading the government but who will be the PM? That appears to be a tricky question for there are several leaders claiming the top executive post of the country.

Since the Federal Parliament elections on November 20, as many as six leaders have come forward with the aspiration of becoming the next Prime Minister in Nepali Congress, the grand old party.  

Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba himself said sometime ago that astrologers predicted he would become the PM for the seventh time. He is unlikely to let go of powers he is fond of holding. Besides, his close aide and party spokesperson Prakash Sharan Mahat has already claimed that none other leader than Deuba would be the next PM. 

General secretary Gagan Thapa has also projected himself as the next Prime Minister. During his election campaigns in Kathmandu-4, Gagan Thapa canvassed voters to ensure his victory so that he would be able to contest for the Prime Minister’s position. 

Dr Shekhar Koirala, who had secured impressive votes during the NC general assembly in December, 2021, has also expressed his aspiration for the position.  With the victory from Tahanu-1, NC leader Ram Chandra Paudel has also claimed the top position of Nepal’s executive. Another leader and former general secretary Dr Shashanka Koirala has also made his aspiration public after his victory from Nawalparasi East.  And then there is Prakash Man Singh, who was also in the runoff for NC present in the general assembly, who has made his aspiration for the coveted post public.

What does the party statute say?

As per the Nepali Congress Statute, a candidate first has to win the election of party’s parliamentary leader. Clause 6 of Nepali Congress Federal Parliamentary Party Statute (2074BS) states that members of parliament from the party elect parliamentary leader.  In case of more than one candidate, the statute has a provision of secret ballot.

An aspirant must get 50 percent votes to get elected as the parliamentary party leader. If no candidate can secure 50 percent votes in the first round of voting, voting will be held for the second round. Which means there are possibilities of leaders vying for the PP leader post influencing the voters.

Thus the PP leader election is not an ordinary battle for the aspirants to win. Old leaders within the party do not seem ready to pass the baton.  Young leaders do not seem willing to submit to the wishes and dictates of old leaders any more. Contest for the PM’s post within Nepali Congress might become an interesting spectacle in Nepali politics.