Acharya rewarded for backing govt policies

Kathmandu, Nov 12

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli nominated Nepali Congress loyalist Nilambar Acharya as Nepal’s new ambassador to India to reward the septuagenarian politician for his support to Oli government’s policies.

Nepal Communist Party (NCP) sources told THT that the PM was so determined to nominate Acharya that he did not care about his party leaders’ aspiration to become Nepal’s ambassador to India, including that of Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, and decided to go ahead with his decision to pick Acharya. Only a handful of NCP leaders, including Co-chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal, were taken into confidence before picking Acharya for the coveted post.

Before aligning with the NC in 1991, Acharya was a communist leader associated with Bishnu Bahandur Manandhar-led Communist Party of Nepal (United).

The ruling party was divided on naming an active diplomat or a senior diplomat as the new ambassador to India to maintain cordial relations with the southern neighbour.

“The PM briefed the Cabinet yesterday about the positive sides of Acharya’s personality, saying he would do his best to promote Nepal-India ties,” a PMO source told THT.

Acharya was appointed as a member of Eminent Persons Group from the NC quota when Oli was the prime minister in 2016.

Acharya declined to comment on the move, saying the process has yet to be completed.

The government has not formally announced Acharya’s nomination. He will have to be confirmed by the Parliamentary Hearing Committee before being appointed by the president.

According to NC leader Narayan Khadka, the ruling government could have chosen Acharya on three grounds — Acharya’s past communist ties, his democratic credentials and his contribution as an EPG member. “Acharya’s moderate personality, rather than his ideology, worked in his favour,” Khadka told THT.

Acharya had served as law minister in the interim government formed under Krishna Prasad Bhattarai after the popular movement of 1990. He had served as Nepal’s envoy to Sri Lanka from October 1996 and April 2000.