Deuba braces for internal pressureThe CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress (NC) will get the ball rolling on formation of a majority government next week as soon as the seven-day deadline set by the President to elect a consensus prime minister ends on Sunday.
The CPN (Maoist Centre) and the Nepali Congress (NC) will get the ball rolling on formation of a majority government next week as soon as the seven-day deadline set by the President to elect a consensus prime minister ends on Sunday.
The NC, as per an understanding reached between the new coalition partners, looks set to bag 12 ministries under the new government, but for party President Sher Bahadur Deuba, dividing the portfolios among party leaders is going to be a hard nut to crack. The NC chief has yet another battle to conquer within his party—nomination the remaining office bearers. Deuba is yet to nominate a vice president, general secretary, joint general secretary, party spokesperson and remaining central committee members besides giving full shape to the party’s over 40 departments.
Three factions within the party are said to be in line for “getting plum posts for their loyal leaders”.
Senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel, who is said to be leading a rival faction within the party, has consistently claimed 40 percent stake in all nominations—both in and outside the party.
A meeting of the group held on Thursday evening had even warned the party president of “grave consequences” if he failed to abide by “the 60-40 ratio traditionally followed by the party”.
Ever since a separate party led by Deuba reunited with the mother party under late Girija Prasad Koirala’s leadership in 2007, most appointments made by the party were divided in 60:40 ratio.
The then rival faction led by Deuba now is the establishment side, and its leaders say “the 60:40 ratio should not be practised now”. “Our anthem during the general convention was a unified Congress, meaning the party should leave no room for factional bargaining,” said Prakash Sharan Mahat.
But the Poudel faction is not the only front Deuba has to deal with. Khum Bahadur Khadka, an influential leader in the party who boasts of around half a dozen central committee members and about a dozen lawmakers “in his fold”, is also said to be putting pressure for at least two ministries and party vice presidency for himself. Deuba’s close aides are said to have cautioned against giving high party position to someone who has served a jail term on corruption charges. And there stands Krishna Prasad Sitaula who had challenged Deuba during the general convention by throwing his hat in the ring for the party presidency.
Sitaula, who wishes to lead the NC team in the new government with the home ministry portfolio, is seeking at least two ministries.