Kathmandu, July 23
A meeting of the central secretariat of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) today concluded without deciding who would head the School (Training) Department.
A few days ago, the NCP had reached agreement on allotting party departments to former CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre leaders. As per the agreement, the former UML will head 18 departments and CPN-MC will head 14 departments. However, the party is yet to reach consensus on chief of Training Department.
Both UML and CPN-MC factions have claimed the department. Ishwor Pokharel from the former UML and Narayan Kaji Shrestha from the former CPN-MC have claimed the position of chief of Training Department. The department plays a crucial role in indoctrination of the party’s rank and file.
The former CPN-MC faction does not want to hand over the Training Department to Pokharel because he openly advocates ‘people’s multi-party democracy’ as the party’s ideology. The party wants Shrestha to lead the department so as to maintain power-balance in the party.
Since he was defeated in the general election, he is also looking for a respectable position in the party. And one way of ensuring this is to appoint him as chief of the Training Department. Moreover, Shrestha is a higher ranking leader than Pokharel in the party.
Leaders from both factions are adamant about heading the department, which has led to further delay in concluding the party unification process.
Deputy parliamentary party leader of NCP told THT that if there were further disputes regarding the allocation of the department, the two co-chairs Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal might have to keep the department under them.
Departments allotted to the former CPN-UML include finance and planning, industry and commerce, election, justice, law and human rights, tourism promotion, civil aviation, provincial affairs, physical infrastructure and transport management, youth and sports, foreign affairs, labour and employment, organisation, federal parliament, social welfare, cooperative and poverty alleviation, urban development, general administration, health and population, and policy.
The 14 departments allotted to the then CPN-Maoist Centre include consumer interest and import, agriculture and land management, fund and finance management, drinking water and sanitation, water resource, irrigation and hydropower, publicity and publication, library and archives, political affairs and good governance, national security promotion, forest and environment, science and technology, education and human resource, literature, art and culture, and local levels.
The former CPN-UML faction has already decided on a few people who will be leading the departments allocated to it. Bam Dev Gautam will be lead Organisation Department, Madhav Kumar Nepal will head Foreign Affairs Department and Jhalanath Khanal will be chief of the Policy and Research Institute Department. Names of the other department heads are yet to be announced.
A version of this article appears in print on July 24, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.