‘Congress will fight any attempts to suppress democracy, free press’

Monday, May 28th, 2018 | | Politics

Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba has said his party will take it to the streets against any attempts of anarchy and totalitarianism.

Addressing a function in the Capital to mark the 27th anniversary of the establishment of Nepal Press Union (NPU) on Sunday, Deuba said the pen of journalists should be strong in democracy. “If anyone tries to muzzle the press, the party will strongly oppose it.”

Talking about the NC’s setback in last year’s elections, Deuba said, “Some win and some lose in the elections.” He insisted that the party would move forward by assimilating its role as a constructive opposition force in Parliament.

Referring to disgruntled voices in the NC, calling for his ouster as the party president, Deuba said he would not leave the post until the party’s next General Convention. “I am an elected president. I am not leaving the party post for anyone for the next three years,” he said, ruling out any special general convention as demanded by some party leaders.

Claiming that the unity between the two communist parties as the main reason for the Congress’ election defeat, Deuba said it was wrong to put the blame squarely on him. “NC has suffered election defeats twice in the past. Why should I take the responsibility of the defeat only this time?” he said.

Senior NC leader Ramchandra Poudel said the party would always stand in favour of democracy, inclusiveness, federalism and enforcement of the constitution. “The party will fight any attempts to muzzle press freedom,” he said, urging the NPU to confidently face

any challenge against press freedom.

NC Vice-president Bimalendra Nidhi, recalling the formation of the NPU some 27 years ago with the participation of 17 journalists, said the same organisation has become the umbrella body of all democratic journalists.

Accusing the government of indulging in appeasing the neighours by sidelining the issues of federalism, inclusion and constitution enforcement, Nidhi claimed the incumbent government was going after ‘cheap popularity’.

NC General Secretary Dr Shashanka Koirala said unity in the party was his only concern of the hour.

NC leader Minendra Rijal; Vice-chairman of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Bipul Pokhrel; Chairman of the Nepal Trade Union Congress Khilanath Dahal; senior journalists Harihar Birahi, Taranath Dahal, Deepak Acharya; NPU General Secretary Ajay Babu Siwakoti; Press Center Nepal’s Chair Maheshwor Dahal and Press Chautari Nepal’s Chair Ganesh Basnet extended their best wishes on the occasion.