NC, NC-D signs unification agreement

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Kathmandu, Sep 25 (UNI) Nepali Congress (Democratic) led by former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba today merged with its parent party Nepali Congress, ahead of the crucial Constituent Assembly polls in the Himalayan nation.

Prime Minister and NC President Girija Prasad Koirala and Mr Deuba sealed an agreement on party unification during their meeting held at Mr Koirala's official residence at Baluwatar this morning to give finishing touches to the much-awaited party unification.

A formal announcement will be made at the joint meeting of the Maha Samiti at 1500 hrs at NC headquarters at Sanepa in Lalitpur district.

Mr Deuba separated with a splinter group five years ago over the issue of extension of the emergency giving sweeping powers to then Royal Army which was loyal to the King, to crush the Maoists insurgency.

Mr Deuba formed Nepali Congress (Democratic) in 2002 after he was expelled from the party.

As per the agreement, NC Vice-president Sushil Koirala will become acting president of the united party while the party's founding leader Krishna Prasad Bhattarai and the NC-D President will remain in second and third place of the party hierarchy respectively, after the Prime Minister.

The two leaders have already agreed to continue two NC-D vice-presidents -- Gopal Man Shrestha and Prakash Man Singh -- in the new committee. Ram Chandra Poudel and K B Gurung will continue as general secretaries while NC-D General Secretary Bimalendra Nidhi will join the new party central committee in the same capacity.

Dr Ram Baran Yadav of the NC will be included in the committee as fourth general secretary.

All the 27 Central Working Committee members from NC-D and 37 from the NC will continue as working committee members of the unified party.

Both the sides have also agreed to form a 27-member powerful parliamentary committee and central work performance committee, comprising 55 per cent members from the NC and 45 per cent from NC-D. Names of the leaders have not been finalised yet.

The leaders also have agreed to merge all party units to form collective committees and give the charge these committees to the leader who is senior to the other and had contributed more to the democratic movement. They have agreed to run village and constituency-level committees through the president and joint presidents if the units fail to agree on a common name to lead the committees.

Reading out the proposal for unification, party's Vice-president Sushil Koirala said a strong, efficient and unified Nepali Congress was the need of the hour. He asserted that the party cadres will accept adjustments in the party ranks.

UNI

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