KATHMANDU: Amid differences among the coalition partners, the Cabinet on Sunday afternoon unanimously appointed Lilamani Paudel the acting chief secretary with an understanding for his automatic promotion to the post of new chief secretary after eight days.
The Cabinet decided to appoint Paudel the acting chief secretary for now and he will be automatically promoted as chief secretary from August 6 as incumbent Chief Secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire retires, Minister for Information and Communications Raj Kishor Yadav told the media after the Cabinet meeting this afternoon.
Chief Secretary Ghimire went on customary home leave before retirement from today. Paudel was the secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai had proposed Paudel's name earlier. However, the Madhesi parties in the government had thrown their weight behind Secretary Umakant Jha as he is a Madhesi, and protested the prime minister's intent.
As the parties and ministers were divided, UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party Chairman Mahantha Thakur had come to the fore to thwart an impending crisis in the ruling coalition.
They reached the Office of the Prime Minister in Singha Durbar at around 8 am this morning and held multiple rounds of discussion till 12:30 pm prior to the Cabinet meeting.
In the meeting of coalition allies, the Madhesi parties expressed their reservation over Paudel's name and proposed Jha's name for the new chief secretary.
However, the Cabinet unanimously made the appointment as the prime minister formally proposed Paudel's name in the Cabinet meeting as new chief secretary, according to Minister Yadav.
The prime minister asked the Council of Ministers to give him an opportunity to perform for the chief secretary directly works with the chief executive, Yadav said.
"The Madhesi Morcha had requested to make the appointment inclusive and give a good message. We had proposed names of Umakant Jha as Madhesi, Brinda Had as woman and Amanindra Kumar Shrestha as Janajati in the meeting," Yadav said.
Earlier while emerging from the meeting of coalition parties prior to the Cabinet meeting, TMLP leader Thakur had suggested that despite differences and reservations over the appointment of new chief secretary, the Madhesi parties would not leave the government.