Kathmandu, April 6 (IANS) Newly-elected Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba was on Wednesday elected Parliamentary Party leader defeating senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel by 72 votes.
Deuba garnered 139 votes while Poudel secured 67 votes out of a total 207 votes. One parliamentarian was absent in the voting due to health reasons.
Deuba and Poudel also figured in the contest for the party president’s post last month in which Deuba emerged victorious.
The Nepali Congress is the largest party in Nepal’s parliament and is now in the opposition.
But following the election of Deuba, a former prime minister, as its Parliamentary Party leader, it is widely speculated in Kathmandu that the days of incumbent Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli in office are numbered.
Deuba is known as a liberal and accommodating political leader in contemporary Nepali politics and has always stood against the Koiralas within the party and the communists in national politics.
The Koirala family, behind the birth of the party, has nurtured it and two generations of Koiralas led the party until 2016.
After his election as NC’s parliamentary leader, Deuba said his party will play the role of effective opposition. “If the role of the opposition will not be effective, the government becomes tyrannical,” he said.
Deuba said he would take the initiative to resolve the crisis in the Madhes region.
Nepal’s southern plains region, the Madhes, has been boiling since the promulgation of the new constitution in last September with 59 people killed in violence.
The Oli-led government in Nepal has offered piecemeal solution to the Madhes issue but it has further angered the agitating parties and evoked apprehension of a fresh agitation.
“I urge the agitating parties to shun their adamant attitude over the demands and government should also exhibit flexibility,” he said.
The agitating Madhes-based parties are opposing the demarcation of seven federal provinces in the new federal set up and demanding that the new constitution of Nepal be made more inclusive.
The post of Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party (NCPP) keader fell vacant after the death of former prime minister and then NC president Sushil Koirala on February 8.
(Anil Giri can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)