The nation achieved nothing despite a lot of mutual bickering this past year. The leaders, considered as political heavyweights, completely drowned themselves in internal conflicts. Prachanda, the leader of the biggest and most powerful political party, expended all his time facing off challenges and confrontations.
The Nepali Congress General Assembly failed to end its groupism and factionalism. Though Sushil Koirala obtained the powers of elected president, he fell into hard days when he could not get the support of seasoned leader Sher Bahadur Deuba. Madhav Nepal, the most powerful and veteran leader in CPN UML could not resolve the conflict within his own party. The power of Madhesi party, with its leaders caught up in their own mess of groupism, is devastated.
According to the observations of senior correspondent Rajan Nepal, and correspondents Shiv Raj Yogi and Ishwar Dahal, who have been researching Nepali political heavyweights based on their capability, influence, personality and organizational acumen, they witness the power and credibility of these heavyweights collapsing rapidly.
Dr Baburam Bhattarai
Vice Chairman, UCPN(M)
Personality: Intellectual, introvert
Strength: Education, capable of involving in intellectual discourses
Influence: Amongst intellectuals and elite groups
Contender: Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”
Intellectual and imaginative, Bhattarai is a courageous leader known for tabling a “Letter of Dissent” to the Party. Popular amongst middle and lower class urban youth, he has a good international outreach. His strong stance for the Peace Process also has added to his popularity. Convincingly contemplative yet weak in actions, Bhattarai is considered to be “reasonable Communist.”
Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar
Chairman, Madheshi People’s Rights
Number of party members: 23
Strength: Can align himself with any party
He has been able to transform himself according to the changing times and thus his progressive nature has been both his merit and demerit. His credibility has been under question because his focus has been more on party politics than Madhesh issues. Gachchhadar, who is regarded as financially sound and bold, is accused of lacking clarity in his thinking.
Chitra Bahadur KC
Chairman, Rastriya Janamorcha
Fulltime members: 625
General members: 45,253
CA members: 4
Strength: Can cope with adverse
situations, lucid speaker
Pluses: Stance against federalism
Chairman, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist)
Unified members: 150,000
General membership: 250,000
Total members in the CA: 109
Elected members: 33
Proportional and nominated members: 76
Personality: Energetic, well-dressed
Pluses: Elected to the CA, became Prime Minister, elected Party President
Competence: Has managed to save himself even in internal conflicts
Influence: Whatever strength he possesses, it derives from his post
As CPN-UML’s parliamentary party leader and elected Party Chairman, Jhalanath Khanal is often embroiled in party squabbles. The seven-point agreement that he engineered with the Maoists still remains unimplemented. His credibility is under question although he had promised to resolve key issues in national politics. Party leaders accuse him of turning CPN-UML into a Maoist laboratory.
Chairman, Rashtriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal
Number of party members: Approximately 25,000
CA members: 4
Personality: Jovial, energetic
After the country became a republic, Kamal Thapa has stood in favor of monarchy and is considered a bold leader who can face up to argument. Thapa, who challenges republicans through his speeches and ideology, has been able to make waves in national politics.
CPN-UML Standing Committee Member
Personality: Clear, hard-hitting against opponents
Strength: Good grip in the party
Pluses: He can shoot down party decisions
Competition: Chairman Jhalanath Khanal
Madhav Kumar Nepal
Veteran leader, UML
Strength: Became prime minister despite losing his CA election in both constituencies; symbol of party leaders’ selfishness; soft-spoken.
Competence: Strong hold in the party
Contender: Party Chairman Jhalanath Khanal
Nepal is considered to be a successful manipulator of power. His quality to render ineffective whatever strong protests from the opposition and give continuity to power is praiseworthy. Though he helped Party Chairman Jhalanath Khanal to become prime minister, Nepal is seen as the main obstruction to Khanal’s formation of his council of ministers at the moment.
Mohan Baidya “Kiran”
Senior Vice Chairman, Unified
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
Personality: Ideologically orthodox, lacking in color
Strength: Continuity in the Communist revolution, honest and with ideological clout in the party organization
Pluses: Adheres to orthodox interpretation of Communist ideology
Influence: Followers of purist interpretation of Communist doctrine
Competition: He goes for his own orthodox strategy and shuns competition.
Baidya enjoys indulging himself in defining Communist’s ideologies, and has shown enthusiasm in translating them into practicality. He has established himself as a hardliner within the party, and has stayed away from pragmatic politics. Although he appears to be a hardliner on paper, he cannot implement his strategy in practice. Although he advocates that the Maoist Party should abandon the Peace Process and Constitution drafting and instead adopt the path of people’s revolt, he has not been able to take initiative to give outlets for the country, which is mired in uncertainty.
Chairman, Tarai-Madhes Democratic Party
Number of party members: Approximately 100,000
CA members: 11
Strength: An honest leader and dedicated to the Madhes
Mahanta Thakur, who was with Nepali Congress for a long time, is no longer in a position to establish the Madhes issue in national politics. After joining Madhes politics his ability to make decisions seems to have eroded.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda”
Chairperson, United CPN
Party membership details
Fulltime members: 100,000
General members: One million
Total members in the Constituent
Assembly (CA): 238
Elected members: 120
Proportional and nominated members: 118
Personality: A charismatic leader
Strength: Absolute leadership of the 10-year armed struggle; supreme commander of the19,600-strong People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and enjoying the support of hundreds of thousands of cadres.
Competence: Capable of managing intra-party conflicts.
Contenders: Vice-chairperson Dr Baburam Bhattarai and Mohan Baidya “Kiran.”
Dahal, who spearheaded the decade-long armed struggle with the objective of changing Nepali society, is established as the party’s “brand.” Though he might have been constantly criticized after assuming peaceful politics, the “genesis” of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) is ascribed to him. No one has the confidence that the Peace Process will conclude without Dahal’s participation. He is the strongest pillar of Nepali politics despite all the pressures from the opposition and factionalism inside the party itself.
President, Nepali Congress
Active party members: 317,000
General membership: 1,100,000
Total members in the CA: 114
Elected members: 37
Proportional and nominated members: 77
Personality: Lack of public profile; crude
Strength: Party Chairman, clan support
Contender: Sher Bahadur Deuba
Though he has been elected as party president, Sushil Koirala hasn’t been able to win national recognition. He is often accused of trying to lead the Congress as a smallish group. Not being able to give full shape to the party’s central working committee even seven months after the general convention has been pointed out as his weakness. He seems confused over the party’s role in the Peace Process and Constitution writing. His influence as party president is waning.
Sher Bahadur Deuba
Senior leader, Nepali Congress
Personality: Common leader
Strength: Enjoys 45% undisputed support inside the party; strong hold in sister organizations; elected to the CA from two constituencies.
Contender: President Sushil Koirala
Competence: Accepts changes easily, can quickly influence party cadres.
Influence: Internationally famous
Despite his defeat in the presidential election, he still has a strong hold in the organization. His role also seems decisive in the Central Committee. However, Deuba has not been able to maintain his “common leader” image. Nonetheless, he has been able to retain his cadres’ confidence despite allegations of his self-aggrandizement. Though his role has been sought in the Peace Process and the drafting of the Constitution, he does not seem serious in these endeavors.
Chairman, Madheshi People’s Rights Forum-Nepal
Number of party members: Approximately 300,000 (before split)
Total members in the CA: 22
Strength: More organized than other Madhesi parties
Pluses: Able to address Madhes issues
After the April 2006 People’s Movement, Updendra Yadav played key role in bringing Madhesi issues to the political center. However, he now appears to be losing his grip on the Madhes. Though he appears to a promising Madhesi leader, he is often accused of being pro-Maoist. Even after the party’s split, he has not been able to maintain the party on an even keel. Except for the demand for one Madhes state, Yadav does not have clear stance on Constitution and federalism.
Your comments on Dahal and Sushil Koirala clearly indicate that this writer is aligned to Maoists.
Vaidya should have been called a dogmatic leader.You were so kind to put his image all positive on Vaidya. Vaidya used the word "Kaite Kura" in public TV live show. He does not know appropriate language to be used in public. How come you rate him so nicely.Is it because your article is a propaganda tool.