Monday, July 18, 2011

Maoist factions settling power-sharing in govt

KATHMANDU, July 19: As the first step toward settling the contentious issue of power-sharing in the party, the three factions of the UCPN (Maoist) are preparing a new list of leaders to send into the government, recalling most of their present ministers.

“We are currently discussing the list of leaders submitted by each of the three factions for ministerial berths,” said Maoist leader Devendra Poudel, who is close to Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai.

The task of settling intra-party power sharing in the government is tricky as both the party establishment and the hard-line faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya have staked claim to the home ministry.

Party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal wants to make party Secretary Posta Bahadur Bogati the home minister, while Baidya has pushed the name of Dev Gurung. Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha, on the other hand, has taken the stance that he would not join the government as deputy prime minister without being given charge of the home ministry.

Sources say the party has, however, agreed on the number of ministries to be distributed among the party factions.

“The Dahal and Baidya factions would get four portfolios each, and Bhattarai three,” said one leader close to Baidya. The group led by Shrestha would get one portfolio.

According to party insiders, Bhattarai has proposed leaving incumbent ministers Top Bahadur Rayamajhi and Prabhu Shah intact in the government while adding the name of Hisila Yami from the party faction. Similarly, the faction has proposed leaving Devi Khadaka, the current state minister for works and physical planning, intact, and forwarded the names of Lila Bhandari and Babulal Pashwan as other state ministers.

Similarly, the Baidya faction has forwarded the names of Dev Gurung, Jayapuri Gharti, Mahender Paswan, Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma and Pampha Bhusal. If Gurung gets the home ministry, either Bhusal or Bishwakarma will join the government and if not, both will join. Among the nominees, Bishwakarma is the only minister in the cabinet from the Baidya faction, as minister-nominees in the current government Gharti and Paswan have not yet taken oath of office. The faction is yet to send its list of state ministers.

Gharti stated that she would not take her oath unless the party sends 33 percent women into the cabinet, while Paswan said it would be humiliating for him to become minister for industry as Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Bishanath Sah, who was defeated by him in the elections, was given a more powerful position. Similarly, the Dahal faction wants Bogati, Lokendra Bisht, Lekhraj Bhatta and Omsari Gharti to become ministers. The faction has also not fixed the names for state ministers.

The scheduled meeting of the party Central Committee (CC) was postponed to settlle the issue of power sharing in the party and the government as per the principle of inclusion, as demanded by the newly-forged allaince of Biadya and Bhattarai. Party leaders say they would deal with the issue of power-sharing in the party after finalizing the list of new ministers.

Published on 2011-07-19 00:00:01

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