Nepal Today

Friday, August 22, 2008

CPN-UML stays out of govt,; other details

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 23 Aug: CPN-UML stayed out of government at the last moment Friday demanding second position in the Maoist-led government of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda who flew for Beijing Saturday to participate in the concluding ceremony of the Olympics in Beijing Sunday.
The party demanded second position for Bamdeb Gautam—leader of the six-member CPN-UML team in government.
Maoists said the position belongs to Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai.
On instructions from CPN-UML General Jhalanath Khanal, the party team, dressed in formal attire to take up government responsibilities, didn’t take their oaths of office administered to eight ministers by the prime minister in the presence of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav Friday even threatening to stay away from government.
Gautam is a former deputy prime minister and home minister.
“As per traditional ranking system, the home minister used to be second in hierarcy. But the Maoists ignored this fact,” Khanal said.
The government was put together eight after the appointment of Prachanda and more than four months after the 10 April CA meet reflecting difficulties in government formation ; even then CPN-UML opted to stay out at the last moment..
CPN-UML demanded second ranking for Gautam in government even without agreement in a three-party alliance for post of deputy prime minister.
Other CPN-UML members in the government are: Bishnu Paudel, Astha Laxmi Sakya, Kiran Gurung, Gopal Sakya and Ram Chandra Jha; they have been allocated water resources, local development, industry and commerce, forest and soil conservation and youth and sport ministries respectively.
Besides Prime Minister Prachanda, .the Maoist team in the skeleton government include: defence minister Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’, communications minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara and minister for law and justice Deb Gurung.
MJF team include: foreign minister Upendra Yadav, minister for physical planning and works Bijaya Kumar Gachedhar, agriculture minister and cooperatives minister Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta and education minister Renu Yadav.
Gachedhar and Gupta are experienced ministers from Nepali Congress in previous administrations.
Only Maoist and MJF appointees formally joined government Friday; seats are also to be allocated to four ministers from four fringe parties..
An announcement said Prachanda will expand the government when he returns from China Wednesday; Prachanda is looking after ministries set aside for CPN-UML and fringe parties.
None of the cabinet members wore the national dress at the swearing-in ceremony as Dr Yadav watched with hands tied in a topi and labeda suruwal.
Maoists were in a suit and Nepali cap and MJF members didn’t don caps and wore coat and pant or kurtha and payajama.
Foreign Minister and MJF Chairman Upendra Yadav is ranked below Dr Bhattarai in protocol but above others in government.
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Krishna Bahadur Mahara appointed government spokesman

Kathmandu, 23 Aug: Krishna Bahadur Mahara has been appointed government spokesman by the cabinet Friday.
The cabinet met for the first time in the evening after a skeleton government
was assembled.
The first cabinet meet decided Dr Bhatatrai will be acting prime minister in Prachanda’s absence from the country.
For the first time, those who were killed in the Maoist people’s war will be given status of martyrs, Rajdhani reports.
This was decided by a cabinet meeting Friday.
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Private secretary of PM Prachanda

Kathmandu, 23 Aug: Sakti Basnet (Suresh Singh) has been appointed private secretary of the prime minister, Janadisha reports.
He is central member of CPN (Maoist) from Khalanga, Jajarkot.
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Differences surface in CPN-UML

Kathmandu, 23 Aug: Differences have surfaced in CPN-UML over the selection of the government with a prominent leader saying regions in the mid and far-West were’nt represented.
Bhim Rawal expressed resentment saying backward regions of Seti, Mahakali and Karnali weren’t represented is government.
“If the decision isn’t corrected, assembly members are prepared to resign collectively,” he threatened.
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Two injured in bomb blast

Kathmandu, 23 Aug: Two persons of a political party were injured as they were assembling a bomb in Bharatpur, Chitwan, Friday.
Ram Bahadur Thing and Santa Bahadur Rumba are undergoing treatment under police watch.
Bhim Bahadur Tamang, a suspect, is absconding and is affiliated with Rashtriya Janabhawana Party.
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Closed session of MJKP

Kathmandu, 23 Aug: The closed session of the Nepal Majdoor Kishan Party (NMKP) began in the capital Saturday on the second day of a three-day meeting of its 5th general convention.
The convention which will elect a new leadership for the next five years concluded Sunday.
The convention is expected to extend the tenure of Chairman Narayanman Bijukakchaya.
Bhaktapur is the party’s stronghold.
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China donates for flood victims

Kathmandu, 23 Aug: China, through Nepal Red Cross Society, has donated $50,000 for flood victims of Nepal, matching an American contribution.
“Now Nepal is suffering from the flood disaster and the Chinese government and people share the same feelings with the Nepalese side,” Chinese Ambassador Zheng Xiangling said announcing the contribution recalling Nepal’s help for quake victims of Sichuan earlier this year.
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Hunt on for new Kumari

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 23 Aug: Living Goddess Priti Sakya, installed seven years ago, is being replaced in Dasain, Nepal Samacharpatra reports.
Guthi Sansthan and Sakya families from 18 bahals [courtyards] have started a search for a new Kumari although its not their traditional responsibility.
A search has been intensified as a Kumari normally menstruates at 12 years of age.
Royal astrologer and chief priest traditionally chose the Kumari but they haven’t been appointed creaking difficulties.
Priti, who hails from Itum Bahal, was selected in 2058.
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