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Nepali Congress eyes makeover

world Updated: Aug 16, 2010 23:46 IST
Utpal Parashar

Faced with the prospect of getting sidelined, Nepali Congress, Nepal’s oldest surviving political party, has got itself a youthful makeover.

Seen as a party of elders who have failed to grasp the rapid political changes in the Himalayan nation, NC roped in over 180,000 new members recently.

It still has nearly 60 per cent members who are above 35, but the presence of 29 per cent members in the 18-35 age group means that youths will play a more active part in the party’s affairs.

According to young NC lawmaker Gagan Thapa, entry of more youths will reconnect the party to the new generation and strengthen it.

With only eight of the 114 NC members in Constituent Assembly under 35, the party needs to change fast to remain relevant and appeal to the young voters.

In contrast, 60 per cent of 237 Maoist lawmakers are below 35 years of age. Not good news when the party of former rebels is slowly assuming the dominant role which NC had till a few years back.

The party’s eagerness to be seen as a party of all sections in Nepal is also witnessed in attempt to include more women and members from marginalized and minority communities in all levels.

“Inclusion of all sections in the party will infuse the party with new enthusiasm,” feels CWC member Ram Saran Mahat. Formed in India by Nepali politicians living in exile, NC has played a crucial role in all three public uprisings to overthrow the hereditary Rana prime ministers, establish democracy and abolish monarch.