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NC leaders unsure of Deuba’s deputy

by August 29, 2016 General

Congress President Deuba left for Singapore on Friday for a checkup of his digestive problems

Aug 29, 2016- Contrary to a tradition of party chief handing over responsibilities to a designated person while heading abroad, Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba’s departure to Singapore on Friday without naming his deputy has left party leaders in quandary.

While some leaders claim Deuba’s decision has fuelled an intra-party power tussle, others say the president did not feel the necessity to officially name someone since “there would not be any important decision to make this week in his absence.” Some leaders also said that Deuba has “internally” handed responsibilities to his long-term associate Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Bimalendra Nidhi.

“Since we were not notified about any deputy being picked in Deuba’s absence, we assume that he has not selected one,” NC leader Ram Hari Khatiwada told the Post.

Deuba left for Singapore for a checkup of his digestive problems on Friday, after the swearing in ceremony of NC ministers. He is scheduled to return on September 1.

Since there were quite a few aspirants, picking a deputy would possibly imply that the person was the front-runner for being nominated as party vice-president, Deuba opted to head to Singapore without announcing his deputy, according to sources.

They added that two leaders in particular-—Gopal Man Shrestha and Khum Bahadur Khadka—had heavily lobbied to be picked as the deputy in Deuba’s absence. Shrestha, who is said to have been upset after being denied an opportunity to lead the party in the government, is now staking his claim for the vice-presideny. Khadka, too, feels that he deserves to be the deputy since he “played a major role in electing Deuba to the party top post” in March.

“But, regardless, Nidhi is calling the shots in the absence of the party leader. We do not think it is unusual because Nidhi is Deuba’s most trusted aide and leads our team in the Cabinet too,” said a source requesting anonymity.

Following the Nepal Students’ Union elections and the settlement of the list of ministers this week, Deuba had pledged that he would focus on giving full shape to the NC’s central governing body. More than five months after being elected the party president, Deuba still has to nominate his vice-

president, general secretary, joint-general secretary and a party spokesperson. Besides, he will also have to nominate 10 more central committee members and give full shape to over 40 departments of the party.

CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli had officially handed party reins to Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam before leaving for Thailand on Friday. Former NC president late Sushil Koirala had also named then party vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel as the acting chief before he set out on a trip to New York in September 2015.

Published: 29-08-2016 09:19