Govt not to name state HQs sans consensus

- ANIL GIRI, Kathmandu

Jan 6, 2018-

In a tactical move aimed at putting pressure on the left alliance, the government is unlikely to name the temporary capitals of the seven provinces without consensus among the major parties.

To ease the new government formation process, a Cabinet meeting on Friday announced the date for National Assembly election but did not name the temporary capitals of the provinces. Nor were the provincial chiefs appointed.

Three ministers the Post had contacted said the government would wait for political consensus with the left alliance and the Madhes-based parties on fixing the provincial headquarters. It would not take any “controversial” decision with protests raging in various parts of the country demanding that their area be named the state capital.

“The meeting discussed in detail the agenda of fixing the provincial capitals but we advised the prime minister not to decide them in a hurry as the constitution authorises the provincial parliaments to do so,” said Defence Minister Bhimsen Das Pradhan.

Ministers urged Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to hold another meeting with the parties to reach a deal on the capitals. They argue that the announcement of upper house elections would make negotiations with the left alliance of the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) easier.

The next Cabinet meeting, probably on Monday, is likely to appoint seven provincial chiefs or governors in consensus, said Commerce Minister Min Bahadur Bishwokarma.

The left alliance has warned of replacing the appointees by new governors immediately after the new government is formed at the Centre. The Cabinet had discussed the scenario of no one being ready to accept the ceremonial post for just a month in that case.

For a way out, the ministers also advised the PM to seek political consensus at the earliest, said the ministers. Without the provincial headquarters being named, PM Deuba told the ministers, the chief ministers could be invited to Kathmandu for the oath.

The Election Commission could arrange for the oath to be administered to the seven chief ministers by their respective governors in Kathmandu, said Pradhan. Then the provincial governments or the new federal government could take other decisions, he suggested.

“We don’t want to make any controversial and unpopular decisions right before leaving the government,” said Irrigation Minister Sanjay Gautam. “We don’t know who are behind these demonstrations. If the government fixes the capitals in a hurry, it could be counterproductive for the Nepali Congress,” he said, explaining the government’s cautious approach.

 

 

Cautious move

  • Government not to take any ‘controversial’ decision with protests raging in various parts of the country
  • PM Deuba to have another shot at political consensus on the capitals
  • The Cabinet, probably on Monday, is likely to appoint seven provincial chiefs
  • Chief ministers may be called to Kathmandu for oath

Published: 06-01-2018 07:50

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