Parties jostling for cash, clout

  • delay in nra formation
  • UML considering 4 contenders n NC backs Pokhrel
- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Dec 15, 2015-

Behind the seemingly principled positions of major parties on the delay in forming the National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) lies an ugly jostling for control over the multi-billion reconstruction project that leaders of these parties want to use to expand their political clout while installing their trusted lieutenants in the top job, accounts from multiple party insiders indicate.

Not just for the Chief Executive Officer position, backroom jockeying to install trusted aides within the important governing structures of the NRA is in full play, impeding an early passage of the NRA Bill, they say.

While the Nepali Congress top leadership wants Govind Raj Pokhrel as the CEO, which party insiders say is the real reason for the obstruction, within the CPN-UML, intense lobbying is underway to support, not one, but four contenders, several UML leaders told the Post on condition of anonymity. Though the party has made no official decision, former home and foreign minister Madhav Ghimire, former UN assistant secretary general Kul Chandra Gautam, former chief election commissioner Nilkantha Uprety and Deputy Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank Maha Prasad Adhikari are reportedly being considered for the CEO post. The Sushil Koirala government, despite opposition from the UML, had sought to set up the NRA through an ordinance.

After failing to set up NRA, the government has entrusted the National Planning Commission with the task of carrying out reconstruction work. Channelising billions of dollars in 40 quake affected districts and mobilisation of projects whose undercover interest is to expand the political clout are other major reasons why parties are struggling so hard over the NRA.

Within the NC, the Sher Bahadur Deuba faction is putting pressure on party leadership to approve the Bill with or without assurance of Pokhrel continuing as CEO. Pokhrel was appointed the CEO by erstwhile Koirala led government. But the NRA could never be set up after the ordinance expired. “We are not behind any name. It should be passed at any cost by Tuesday. Why are we adamant on one person,” said NC leader Purna Bahadur Khadka.

But, another NC leader Minendra Rijal, who is considered close to the Koirala camp, said on Monday that it is practically difficult to approve the Bill and provide relief to quake victims until border embargo is eased.     

Another NC leader Bal Krishna Khand said the delay in the passage of the Bill is 

an outcome of ego clash between Koirala and Prime Minister Oli. 

The Koirala faction is negotiating with Oli to reappoint Pokhrel as CEO, claimed Khand, adding, “Apart from this, I do not see any other reason behind the delay.”

Majority of the NC Central Working Committee members and lawmakers are in favour of passing the Bill and piling pressure on party leadership to approve it as soon as possible.On the other hand, the ruling UML is also deeply indulged in the debate on who to pick as the next CEO.

The UCPN (Maoist) and the agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madeshi Morcha are for passing the Bill, but the NC has been saying that the Constitution Amendment Bill must be passed simultaneously.

During a conference of donors in Kathmandu in June, the international community had pledged over US $ 4.5 billion for reconstruction, but not a single penny has been spent, thanks to continued bickering among parties. 

Published: 15-12-2015 08:44

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