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Chamber of Commerce split over presidential candidate

KATHMANDU, APR 14 - The venerable Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC) has virtually split over differences whether the current president should be allowed to contest for a second term or a new one elected. The clash has led to an indefinite postponement of its annual general meeting (AGM) which is to elect a new executive committee.

The NCC has plunged into the worst crisis in its six-decade-long history with one faction demanding that the current president Suresh Basnet be allowed to serve a second term while the other faction wants former president Rajesh Kaji Shrestha in the top post.

The controversy intensified after two-thirds of the members of the NCC’s executive committee led by senior vice-president Lok Manya Golchha abandoned their respective positions on “moral grounds” claiming that the executive committee has been automatically dissolved from Sunday as per the NCC’s statute.  

Golchha claimed that the statute has made a provision that the executive committee ceases to exit if the AGM is not held within mid-April every year. “Then the whole authority of running the organisation goes to the administrative head of the NCC,” he said. “The administrative chief should hold the AGM within 35 days.”

“Respecting the provision mentioned in our statute, our team has decided to give up their respective positions, and we are demanding and waiting for the election to be

conducted by the administrative chief at the earliest,” said Golchha. “We have also notified the District Administr-ation Office about our decision.”

President Basnet, however, stated the rival faction’s decision was “an escapist move”. He added as the statute of the NCC is not clear and that the present statute does not mention

anything about the dissolution of its executive committee, he and his group would not abandon their responsibilities.

Before they resigned en masse, a dispute arose over membership distribution after the faction led by president Basnet asked for fresh membership distribution. The NCC secretariat that remains under the general secretary denied accepting applications for new membership and membership renewal submitted by some 1,500 individuals on March 17, the closing date for submitting applications.

General secretary Kamalesh Kumar Agrawal is in the opposition camp.  Subsequently, the group supporting the president sealed and locked the NCC secretariat at Kantipath, Kathmandu for 22 days demanding that their demands be heard. Just a week ago, the team led by Golchha unlocked the secretariat in the presence of the Kathmandu Chief District Officer.

The group led by Golchha comprises around 30 executive members out of the 39 including general secretary Agrawal, treasurer Rajendra Aryal and immediate past president Surendra Bir Malakar, among others.

Though the NCC’s general secretary Agrawal had called the AGM for April 8, president Basnet published a notice after a few days stating that the date proposed earlier for the NCC’s AGM and election had been postponed until further notice.

He added that Agrawal’s declaration was illegal as he had one-sidedly announced the date for the AGM without approval from the executive committee’s meeting. However, the faction led by Golchha said the AGM’s date had been approved by the executive committee’s meeting from which Basnet was absent.

Posted on: 2013-04-15 08:38

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