UML, Maoist Centre in discussion for chief minister, speaker picks

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 4, 2018-With provincial assemblies coming into operation in all the seven provinces this week, the left alliance is busy selecting key positions in provincial governments and assemblies.

Leaders of both the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) said they had started the process to pick chief ministers and speakers in the provinces where they are forming the governments.

With both the parties agreeing to a 70:30 ratio for sharing seats at the provincial governments and various committees of provincial assemblies, they have a huge task in hand. While the Maoist leadership has started naming chief ministers, the UML has instructed its provincial committees to finalise the names for major posts—chief minister, speaker and deputy speaker—after the National Assembly elections scheduled for Wednesday.

As per an understanding between the allies, the UML will lead the governments in provinces 1, 3, 4 and 5 while the Maoist Centre takes charge of governments in provinces 6 and 7. The UML will have speakers in provinces 1, 3, 6 and 7 and deputy speakers in provinces 4 and 5. The Maoist party will get speakers in provinces 4 and 5 and deputy speakers in provinces 1, 3, 6 and 7.

Provincial committee of the Maoist Centre has already recommended Trilochan Bhatta as the chief minister of Province 7. It has also recommended Nirmala Badal Joshi as the deputy speaker of the provincial assembly, Akkal Rawal as the chief whip and Man Bahadur Sunar as the whip of the parliamentary party.

“We have recommended Bhatta as the leader of the parliamentary party besides recommending candidates for other positions. It’s up to the party to approve the names,” said Lekhraj Bhatta, the Maoist party’s Province 7 in-charge.

According to the Maoist Centre, Shalikram Jammarkattel has been recommended as the parliamentary party leader in Province 3, with Kumari Moktan being proposed as his deputy. With the UML leading the government in Province 3, the Maoist Centre is preparing to field three to four ministers under the leadership of Jammarkattel. Leaders claimed that the names of Moktan and one among Dipesh Maharjan and Rajkaji Maharjan were being considered for ministerial positions.

Province 3 coordinator of the Maoist party Jhakku Subedi said they would have a discussion with the UML before selecting the deputy speaker of Province 3 Assembly as the speaker and deputy speaker have to be of different sex. However, Province 7 in-charge Lekhraj Bhatta said it would not matter if both the speaker and the deputy speaker were women, adding that his committee had decided to field a woman for the deputy speaker position in Province 7.

Province 4 in-charge Dev Prasad Gurung said they would select candidates for top positions after the NA elections.

Discussions for selecting chief ministers have intensified also in the UML. Except for Province 5, where Shankar Pokharel is set to lead the government, the UML is yet to decide the candidates. A number of elected representatives are in the fray for the top post in provinces 1, 3 and 4.

In Province 1, both UML secretary and province in-charge Bhim Acharya and joint-in-charge Sherdhan Rai stake their claims to the chief minister’s post. In Province 3, UML Vice-chairperson and province in-charge Asta Laxmi Shakya and leaders Rajendra Pandey and Keshav Sthapit vie for the chief minister. In Province 4, UML Secretary Prithvi Subba Gurung will contest with Kiran Gurung for the CM’s post. The party’s Standing Committee has already decided to select candidates through a vote if they fail to pick them in consensus.

Published: 04-02-2018 06:56

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