KATHMANDU: The central committee meeting of the ruling CPN-UML held here on Monday has been put off till tomorrow following the rift between the party’s top leaders over the names of persons to be inducted in the coalition government.
The meeting was put off without even discussing any agenda item. The meeting was supposed to discuss the party’s plan of action and work division for the politburo and central committee members.
According to party insiders, party president Jhala Nath Khanal, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and KP Oli came up with their own favourites when the party’s 11-member standing committee met this morning, ahead of the central committee meet. The party is likely to get six ministers in the government backed by 22 parties.
Bidhya Bhandari and Surendra Pandey have already been sworn in as defence and finance minister, respectively. The standing committee meeting was called to select four more names. After the standing committee failed to reach a consensus, the three leaders — Nepal, Khanal and Oli — were assigned to find a way out of the impasse. “But the trio also failed to find any solution,” a UML leader said, requesting anonymity.
While the PM wants Bhim Rawal as home minister, Oli wants Bhandari, who already holds the defence portfolio, to retain the ministry. Khanal, however, has thrown his weight behind party general secretary Ishwor Pokharel for the home ministry. Khanal also wants to retain Surendra Pandey as finance minister. However, Oli is opposed to the idea as he wants Shankar Pokharel to head the finance ministry. Sources said Oli would ask Bidhya Bhandari to quit as defence minister if Pokharel was denied finance ministry.
After the trio remained firm on their stance, Khanal is believed to have proposed party vice-president Ashok Rai a home minister. However, both Oli and Nepal outrightly refused Khanal’s proposal, the source added.
Later, party secretary Shankar Pokharel told mediapersons that the party would select candidates for ministerial berths only after the coalition partners broker a power-sharing deal.
Three big coalition partners have been staking their claims on Home, Defence, Finance, Water Resources, Foreign Affairs, Peace and Reconstruction and Local Development portfolios.