May 5, 2017 12:40 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, May 5: Nepali Congress leader Bimalendra Nidhi, who had left the government earlier this week due to differences with his party president over the impeachment motion registered against Chief Justice Sushila Karki, has re-assumed his role as the deputy prime minister and home minister from Thursday.
Minister Nidhi resumed his office after reaching an understanding with his party president, Sher Bahadur Deuba. Deuba and Nidhi had held over an hour-long discussion at the party headquarters in Sanepa on Wednesday evening.
Senior leaders of the party's establishment faction including Gopal Man Singh Shrestha, Pradip Giri, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, Ramesh Lekhak, Bal Krishna Khand and Arjun Narasingh KC were present during the meeting. Deuba had personally tried to convince Nidhi not to resign, arguing that the resignation would not only harm the government but also the party and Nidhi himself as a leader.
Before the misunderstanding reached a boiling point, Nidhi had already started skipping cabinet meetings after the then Deputy Prime Minister Kamal Thapa was given senior protocol to him. Although he had decided to resign from the post over the protocol row, Nidhi had changed his mind after Deuba insisted him to stay on.
Thapa has already tendered resignation from the government, taking a strong exception to the decision of the top leaders of the NC and Maoist Center to register impeachment motion against Chief Justice Karki. According to Nidhi's press coordinator Ramjee Dahal, Minister Nidhi will start attending cabinet meetings from now on.
Sources said Nidhi, Deuba and Prime Minister Dahal had held meeting at the prime minister's official residence in Baluwatar Thursday morning before making the u-turn.
Arguing that the resignation had not been endorsed, Dahal had suggested Nidhi to resolve minor differences to make the upcoming local elections a success.
Shortly after the meeting, Nidhi had flown to Biratnagar to attend a function organized in Janakpur to mark Ram Nawami festival. Talking to journalists at Biratnagar airport, Nidhi said that he had decided to withdraw his resignation keeping in view of the need to hold the elections.
“The polls must be held to implement the new constitution, which was promulgated last year. I have decided to resume my office at the request of party president Deuba and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal to make the elections a success,” Nidhi said.
While stating that he is committed to ensuring political stability in the country, Nidhi said that the endorsement of the constitution amendment bill that has already been tabled in the parliament would ensure political stability in the country.
The relations between Deuba and Nidhi had grown sour since the appointment of new police chief. While Home Minister Nidhi wanted to appoint Nawaraj Silwal as new police chief, Deuba had exerted undue pressure on him to appoint Jaya Bahadur Chand to the post.
The souring relation between the two senior leaders of the NC establishment faction had cast uncertainty whether Deuba would appoint Nidhi as his deputy in the party or not.
However, sources said there has also been an understanding to appoint Nidhi as the party vice president as per the fresh understanding to bridge the differences.