Rayamajhi to lead UCPN-M in govt

Kathmandu, October 17

The standing committee meeting of the Unified CPN-Maoist today decided to send party secretary Top Bahadur Rayamajhi to the K P Sharma Oli-led government to lead the party as Deputy Prime Minister.

After many leaders wished to join the government, Pushpa Kamal Dahal is having a hard time picking names for ministers.

According to Dahal’s personal secretary Chudamani Khadka, Dahal has finalised the list of UCPN-M ministers and has sent it to Prime Minister K P Oli.

Dahal’s initial choice for leading the party in the government was General Secretary Krishna Bahadur Mahara, but later Mahara told him that he would not join the government but pave the way for other leaders. So Dahal decided to send Rayamajhi.

Mahara said he was ashamed after so many leaders vied for ministerial berths. Therefore, he paved the way for other leaders to join the government.

Rayamajhi is a close confidante of former senior leader of the party Baburam Bhattarai.

Due to acute pressure from different sectors, Dahal, who was preparing to send his close confidante Agni Sapkota to lead the Home Ministry, is sending Shakti Basnet instead.

Several party leaders, including party general secretary Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Secretary Giriraj Pokhrel and former commanders of People’s Liberation Army Nanda Kishor Pun and Janardan Sharma were vying for the Home Ministry.

Sources claimed that Dahal could not resist the pressure to send Basnet as Home Minister.

Basnet, who is also close to Dahal, said the standing committee had entrusted Dahal to pick the ministers.

Agni Sapkota, who led the Ministry of Information and Communications earlier, will be appointed education minister. Sources said the party’s Chief Whip Giriraj Mani Pokhrel will get Ministry of Irrigation or Urban Development. They also said the party’s whip Rekha Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Gauri Shankar Chaudhary and Lhyarkal Lama are possible names for ministers.