The Nepali Congress, the oldest democratic party of Nepal, which is also in the midst of its general convention or Mahasamiti as it is popularly called, appears crisis-ridden. The grand old party which considers itself the harbinger of democratic change in Nepal is in a critical juncture of history.
It has convened its general convention at a time when it is at its lowest mark of organisational decline set in motion by its unprecedented defeat in the federal election held in last December. This party which had remained at the helm of affairs by dint of majority votes in the parliamentary elections since 1990 has found itself beset with multiple problems.
The Nepali Congress has risked organising general convention without clear objective to be achieved from the jamboree of discontented party workers. The young generation leaders and workers of the party want a complete overhaul of the organisational structure by holding the old stalwarts of the party accountable for the general decline of strength and ignominious defeat of the party in the last general election.
The present impasse has evolved because of its failure to practice inner democracy. Though it claims to be the largest democratic party of Nepal, its inner democratic life is most stultifying. In its history of more than sixty-five years, it has rarely sent elected deputies to Mahasamiti or the national congress. It is only recently that it has introduced the system of election but the process of election is still highly manipulated. The practice of co-option and nomination is so entrenched in the party, it is hard for the elected representatives to form majority at party conventions when it comes to endorsing new policies or guidelines. This party is being run without principle and ideology. Party schooling is poor and there is no practice of criticism and self-criticism to refurbish party hierarchies and use responsibility with accountability.
In the past, the Nepali Congress represented advanced ideals of liberal democracy when it was locked in a battle with anachronistic monarchy propped up by the decrepit ideology of divine right. It was then progressive force and was capable to symbolise people’s dream for change.
Now, Nepali Congress is confronting an enemy which is ideologically more argumentative, organisationally more entrenched and democratically more representative than itself. It is, therefore, imperative for it to come out of the chrysalis of ossified values and let its youth vitality break free from the clutches of patriarchal values. If this party fails to make use of the Mahasamiti meeting to infuse its rank with new life blood, it may never get another opportunity knocking at its door again.