Will Cabinet today put Nidhi-Thapa row to rest?

  • Sources say two DPMs likely to continue to bicker
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Apr 6, 2017-

The Cabinet is finally set to meet on Thursday after a hiatus of three weeks, and among other decisions, it is likely to settle the seniority row between Deputy Prime Ministers Bimalendra Nidhi and Kamal Thapa.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has three deputy prime ministers. Nidhi of the Nepali Congress and Krishna Bahadur Mahara of the CPN (Maoist Centre) were appointed immediately after the formation of the incumbent government. Thapa was inducted into the Cabinet in March.

Sources said PM Dahal is likely to put Mahara on the top of the pecking order.

But will that move put the Nidhi-Thapa seniority row to an end?

It may not, said a source, adding that chances of Nidhi and Thapa again staking claim to the position after Mahara are high.

In one of the unprecedented incidents, the row between the two DPMs has taken a toll on the system. So much so that PM Dahal had left for China for a weeklong visit on March 23 without appointing an acting prime minister. The Nidhi-Thapa squabble had even led to the cancellation of a scheduled Cabinet meeting on March 22, which was supposed to endorse PM Dahal’s visit to China and discuss the previous day’s Supreme Court order of quashing the February 12 government decision of appointing DIG Jaya Bahadur Chand as the chief of Nepal Police.

PM Dahal has been struggling to call a Cabinet meeting due to bickering between Nidhi and Thapa.

The last Cabinet meeting was held on March 16.

Ahead of Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, PM Dahal has scheduled a meeting with NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba and Nidhi, according to the source.

“PM Dahal will settle the issue during the meeting. If Nidhi and Thapa refuse to budge, he will propose Mahara as the seniormost DPM,” the source added.

But will Thapa settle down?

According to a close aide to Thapa, even if Nidhi accepts Mahara as the seniormost DPM, Thapa is likely to raise the issue of seniority between him and Nidhi. “If the prime minister decides in favour of Thapa, Nidhi is likely to boycott the meeting,” the source said. Nidhi has already a programme scheduled in Biratnagar and he might skip the Cabinet and catch a flight.

Thapa’s aide told the Post that since “Nidhi unnecessarily made it a prestige issue”, Thapa is not going to backtrack. According to Nidhi, he should be the seniormost DPM as he represents the single largest party in Parliament. Thapa, however, has a counterargument that he became the deputy prime minister long before Nidhi.

Thapa was DPM in the erstwhile KP Sharma Oli-led government.

Published: 06-04-2017 07:52

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