Nepal | May 25, 2020

NCP hard pressed to fix headquarters, Province 1 name

Himalayan News Service
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Biratnagar, May 1

As the deadline for fixing the permanent provincial headquarters and adopting a name for the province is expiring tomorrow, the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) finds itself hard pressed to settle the issues in Province 1.

According to sources, the party is taking time to decide on the issues due to differing opinions in the party represented by different factions. While leaders of the former CPN-UML are said to be lobbying to name the province on the basis of geographical factor alone, the former CPN-MC group is learnt to be throwing its weight behind taking into account the identity factor as well.

As per the notice of the Provincial Assembly, tomorrow is the deadline for proposing the permanent headquarters and name for the province. Though the ruling party convened its meeting from early morning today to hammer out consensus on the issues, agreement on the issues was nowhere in sight.

The meeting saw the participation of NCP Province 1 Committee In-charge Bhim Acharya, Assistant In-charge Sabitri Kumar Kafle, parliamentary party leader and Chief Minister Sherdhan Rai, deputy leader Tanka Angbo and a few party central members available here.

“We’ll settle the issues by holding a meeting of the parliamentary party once the meeting of the provincial committee concludes,” said NCP Chief Whip Buddhi Kumar Rajbhandari.

Even the ministers are divided on these issues. Financial Affairs and Law Minister Indra Angbo is in favour of calling the province ‘Koshi Kirat’ and making Biratnagar the permanent provincial headquarters. Arguing that the provincial name should be one that also reflects the identity of the region, Angbo doesn’t want to look past Biratnagar when it comes to fixing the permanent headquarters giving the infrastructure it has.

While CM Rai is also positive about adopting Koshi-Kirant as the name for the province, Internal Affairs Minister Hikmat Kumar Karki, however, is for calling the province ‘Sagarmatha’. On the issue related to fixing permanent headquarters, while Social Development Minister Jeevan Ghimire is openly lobbying for Biratnagar, Tourism Minister Jagadish Kusiyat hasn’t made his stance clear.

As for declaring the permanent provincial headquarters, CM Rai seems to be in favour of running legislative and executive bodies of the province from Itahari and Biratnagar respectively. Rai, at a meeting today, had decided to locate the CM’s contact office in Dhankuta.

Opposition party Nepali Congress, however, is in a wait-and-watch mood. Though the party had held a meeting of the parliamentary party yesterday to decide on the twin agenda of fixing the permanent headquarters and naming the province, the meet ended without conclusion.

“Whether it is the issue of naming the headquarters or the name of the province, the party will stand united,” said NC leader Rajeev Koirala.


A version of this article appears in print on May 02, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.

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