Pokharel Oli’s choice for Training Deptt

Kathmandu, July 25

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who is also a co-chair of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has thrown his weight behind Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister  Ishwar Pokharel in his bid to become chief of the Training Department of the party.

Pokharel is a staunch supporter of people’s multi-party democracy propounded by late Madan Bhandari.

On the other hand, another Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal has been trying to make party Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha the chief of the Training Department.

Leaders representing former CPN-UML and erstwhile CPN-MC want to wrest control of this department as it plays a crucial role in indoctrinating party cadres.

This department is important also because of the ongoing debate on whether to adopt PMPD or people’s democracy of 21st century advocated by former CPN-MC is an issue the party will have to grapple with in the General Convention of the party. Whichever option is adopted will become the formal ideology of the NCP.

Lack of consensus between co-chairs Oli and Dahal over who should lead the Training Department led to postponement of the NCP secretariat meeting planned for today. This meeting was supposed to take a final call on the 33 departments of the party, including the chiefs of those departments.

Spokesperson Shrestha told THT that the scheduled meeting of the secretariat was postponed mainly because co-chairs did not have enough time to finalise the meeting agenda and they also needed to attend a programme organised to mark the death anniversary of founder leader of Nepal Communist Party Nara Bahadur Karmacharya. NCP leader Ghana Shyam Bhusal has also staked his claim for the post of late.

According to party sources, Oli and Dahal have held multiple informal meetings recently to finalise the name of the chief of Training Department but have failed to forge consensus on a common candidate.

“I have just evinced my interest for the Training Department,” Bhusal said and added that any leader who led the department would have to advocate the party’s line irrespective of his/her personal views. He said a leader truly committed to the party’s ideology would, however, do his/her job more efficiently.

An NCP source said Oli would back Pokharel for the post, but if he failed to secure his nomination, he could propose that both co-chairs lead the department.

The UML and CPN-Maoist Centre merged last year to form NCP.

The source said some party leaders wanted to make former prime minister Jhalanath Khanal the chief of Training Department, but since he was against PMPD in the fifth GC, there was slim chance Oli and leaders close to him would support Khanal’s nomination.

A senior leader of the party said Oli was backing Pokharel because he deserved the post. “When Pokharel had to go underground to advance the cause of the communist party, Narayan Kaji Shrestha was associated with the NC,” the source added.

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Gokul Baskota said the party could not ignore PMPD. At a weekly press conference in his office today, he said his party came thus far only on account of PMPD and it should continue to stick to the ideology.