Upper House likely to get full shape today

Kathmandu, February 9

The Cabinet today decided to leave it to the discretion of the prime minister to recommend the names of three National Assembly members to the president.

Minister for Information and Communications Mohan Bahadur Basnet said PM Sher Bahadur Deuba was likely to announce the names tomorrow morning.

Of the 59 NA members, three are recommended by the government, while 56 are elected by an electoral college comprising provincial assembly members and chiefs and deputy chiefs of local government bodies.

Baluwatar sources said the PM was likely to recommend Gopal Basnet, Chandani Joshi and Krishna Prasad Paudel to President Bidhya Devi Bhandari.

While Basnet and Paudel are active members of the Nepali Congress, Joshi is an NC supporter.

Basnet, who hails from Birtamod, Jhapa, is former secretary of the party’s district committee. He is considered to be close to NC President and PM Deuba, and is former district president of erstwhile Nepali Congress-Democratic formed under Deuba’s leadership.

Paudel is chief secretary of the NC central office. He was appointed to the post after Deuba was elected party president. Originally from Syangja district, Paudel was actively involved in NC-affiliated teachers’ association and trade union.

Rights activist Joshi is former director for South Asia at United Nations Development Fund for Women.

The CPN-UML condemned the decision taken by the caretaker government that did not have the people’s mandate. “Such decisions are in violation of democratic norms,” said UML leader Bishnu Paudel.

Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal leader Keshav Jha said the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal and RJP-N had reached an understanding with the Nepali Congress negotiators when they were discussing National Assembly seat sharing that the government would recommend one member each from the NC, FSF-N and RJP-N to the Upper House. Jha condemned the government for choosing all three members unilaterally. Jha said the government’s decision could adversely affect NC’s ties with the Madhes-based parties.