Kathmandu, August 16
The ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has inched closer to wrapping up its unification process with today’s appointment of heads and co-heads of 32 departments.
The country’s largest political party, which was formed following merger between CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre, had not been able to publicly announce names of heads and co-heads of its departments due to differences over appointment of the chief of its School Department.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Ishwar Pokharel was intensely lobbying to steer the School Department. But members of the erstwhile CPN-Maoist Centre were circumspect in handing over the post to Pokharel, as he was for adopting ‘people’s multi-party democracy’ as the party’s key political ideology. The members of erstwhile CPN-Maoist Centre were not happy with this as they said the party should embrace ‘21st century people’s democracy’ as the key political ideology at least until the first convention. They feared Pokharel’s appointment to the post would give him leeway to use the department as a vehicle to indoctrinate the party members in ‘people’s multi-party democracy’. Due to this fear, they had fielded Narayan Kaji Shrestha, the party’s spokesperson, as the candidate for the post.
NCP responsibility allocation
|SN||Departments||Chiefs / Deputy-chiefs|
|1||Finance and planning||Surendra Pandey / Door Prasad Upadhyaya|
|2||Industry and commerce||Radha Gyawali / Bam Dev Chhetri|
|3||Election||Pradeep Gyawali / Khim Lal Devkota|
|4||Justice, law and human rights||Raghu Ji Panta / Mukti Narayan Pradhan|
|5||Tourism promotion and civil aviation||Yogesh Bhattarai / Pasang Sherpa|
|6||Provincial affairs||Ghana Shyam Bhusal / Prashu Ram Tamang|
|7||Physical infrastructure and transport management||Raghubir Mahaseth / Hari Adhikari|
|8||Youth and sports||Top Bahadur Rayamajhi / Thakur Gaire|
|9||Foreign affairs||Madhav Kumar Nepal / Surendra Pandey|
|10||Labour and employment||Gokarna Bista / Rameshor Raya Yadav|
|11||Organisation||Bam Dev Gautam / Janardan Sharma|
|12||Federal parliament||Subash Nembang / Dev Gurung|
|13||Social welfare||Keshav Lal Shrestha / Gopal Thakur|
|14||Cooperative and poverty alleviation||Bishnu Rimal / Dharma Datta Devkota|
|15||Urban development||Lekh Raj Bhatta / Jagannath Khatiwada|
|16||General administration||Lal Babu Pandit / Rekha Sharma|
|17||Health and population||Rajendra Pandey / Anjana Bisanke|
|18||Policy and research academy||Jhalanath Khanal / Ram Chandra Jha|
|19||Consumer interest and import||Matrika Yadav / Balaram Baskota|
|20||Agriculture and land management||Chakrapani Khanal / Hari Parajuli|
|21||Fund and finance management||Hari Bol Gajurel / Krishna Gopal Shrestha|
|22||Drinking water and sanitation||Bina Magar / Mamata Giri|
|23||Water resource, irrigation and hydropower||Barsaman Pun / Parsu Meghi Gurung|
|24||Publicity and publication||Narayan Kaji Shrestha / Surya Bahadur Thapa|
|25||Library and archives||Narayan Prasad Sharma / Gyan Bahadur Bhujel|
|26||Political affairs and good governance||Ram Bahadur Thapa / Guru Baral|
|27||School||Ishwar Pokharel / Devendra Paudel|
|28||Forest and environment||Shakti Basnet / Chudamani Jangali|
|29||Science and technology||Ganesh Shah / Arun Nepal|
|30||Education and human resource||Giriraj Mani Pokharel / Bijaya Paudel|
|31||Literature, art and culture||Mani Thapa|
|32||Local level||Yubaraj Gyawali / Urmila Aryal|
Today, both the NCP co-chairs, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, agreed to handover the department to Pokharel. The decision to appoint Pokharel was formally announced by the party’s central secretariat. The other contender for the post, Shrestha, was appointed as the chief of the Publicity and Publication Department. The party did not explain how the differences that had emerged in the past regarding Pokharel’s appointment were settled.
With the appointment of the School Department’s head, the party has overcome a major hurdle in party unification process. The party now needs to divide work among its central committee members and appoint some of the heads of sister wings to wrap up the unification process.
“Today’s decision to appoint heads and co-heads of the 32 departments was taken unanimously by the party’s central secretariat,” NCP Spokesperson Shrestha told journalists.
Of the 32 department heads, 13 are federal government ministers. But only two department heads are women — Radha Gyawali and Water Supply Minister Bina Magar. Four women have been appointed as co-heads of departments. However, the party is yet to appoint the co-head of the Literature, Art and Culture Department, which is headed by Mani Thapa.
Some of the prominent NCP leaders who have been appointed as department heads are former PM Madhav Kumar Nepal, who will steer the Foreign Affairs Department, former deputy PM Bam Dev Gautam, who will head the Organisation Department, and former PM Jhalanath Khanal, who will lead the Policy and Research Academy.
The NCP also added co-in-charges in provinces today.
A version of this article appears in print on August 17, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.