Decks clear for Murarka to become next FNCCI chief

KATHMANDU: The decks are now clear for Pashupati Murarka, officiating president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), to become the head of the largest private sector umbrella body, as the only remaining contender for FNCCI’s top post withdrew her candidacy on Wednesday.

Bhawani Rana, executive member of the FNCCI, said she has decided to pull out of the umbrella body’s presidential election campaign and lend support to Murarka.

“I’m withdrawing my candidacy for the sake of unity in the FNCCI and to enhance credibility of the umbrella body in the domestic as well as international sector,” the first female contender for FNCCI’s top post told a press conference held here today.

Her announcement comes a day after Bhaskar Raj Rajkarnikar, former senior FNCCI vice president and another contender for the umbrella body’s top post, withdrew his candidacy.

Although Rana officially quit the presidential race today by filing a petition, Rajkarnikar has not done so.

Contenders for FNCCI’s top post have until 1:00pm on Thursday to withdraw their candidacy.

If Rajkarnikar officially pulls out of the presidential race within the stipulated time, Murarka will become the unanimous candidate for the FNCCI’s top post, allowing him to automatically take charge of the umbrella body.

A formal announcement on the new president will be made on Friday, when the FNCCI is holding a special general meeting.

The president’s post at the FNCCI has remained vacant since its chief Pradeep Jung Pandey was sentenced to jail in a three-decade old corruption case on March 18.

The new chief of FNCCI will serve the remaining term of Pandey, which expires in April 2017.

If Murarka is elected to the president’s post as expected, FNCCI will then have to conduct a poll to select its senior vice president, as the post will remain vacant with Murarka’s promotion. Prior to Pandey’s arrest, Murarka was serving as the senior vice president of FNCCI.

“The election of senior vice president should be held within five days of the president’s election. We will elect the new senior vice president within that time,” a senior FNCCI official said.

The FNCCI, whose prime responsibility is to lobby on behalf of the entire private sector, has been passing through turbulence for quite some time due to lack of accommodating nature of representatives split in two groups. As a result, the rift seems to be widening in the umbrella organisation.