KATHMANDU, MAY 08 – The Nepali Congress has ‘finalised’ the names of leaders to be sent as ministers to the Baburam Bhattarai-led unity government, according to sources close to party president Sushil Koirala.
The names picked and proposed by Koirala include Gopal Pahadi, Padamnarayan Chaudhary and Chitra Lekha Yadav. Of the six ministerial berths allocated to the Congress, two candidates–Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Suryaman Gurung–have already been sworn in as ministers.
With the new names “finalised,” a single candidate remains to be picked from the party. Sources said the last candidate will also be picked as soon as the Sher Bahadur Deuba faction of the party proposes one.
Though Koirala and Deuba are not having any one-on-one talks and meetings of late, attempts are being made by other senior leaders of the party to bring about a thaw in the two senior leaders’ strained relations.
The party’s vice president, Ram Chandra Poudel, and party general secretary Prakash Man Singh have been asked to negotiate with the Deuba faction and persuade the leaders to join the government, sources said.
Of the three new candidates, Padamnarayan Chaudhary and Chitralekha Yadav are from Siraha, while Gopal Pahadi is from Sankhuwasabha. Pahadi and Chaudhary were nominated in the Central Working Committee by Koirala.
In the party’s 12th General Convention, Chaudhary from the Koirala panel and Yadav from the Deuba panel were contestants for the party treasurer’s post, while Yadav had defeated Chaudhary.
While Pahadi and Chaudhary are considered key figures in Koirala’s coterie, Yadav is said to be close to leader Khum Bahadur Khadka.
Pahadi is known as someone who provides feedback to Koirala in every political decision he takes. Though a dedicated leader, sources say he has a weak political base in terms of people’s support.
Chaudhary, representing the Madhes community, has his own importance in the Koirala coterie in terms of current inclusive politics and his “reliability.”
A female candidate and belonging to the Madhes, Yadav is equally significant in the current political context in the Congress circle, while she also has a sound political image and background.
“All these proposed candidates are esteemed to be very honest and dedicated leaders in our party and I don’t think the candidates picked by the president himself will be opposed by anyone,” a source said.ekantipur