NC Paudel faction unhappy
KATHMANDU, Feb 20: The nomination of ambassadors by the government on Monday has created a rift within the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) after the rival faction-led by Ram Chandra Paudel expressed strong objection to the names.
Six of the total 14 new ambassadors recommended by a cabinet meeting on Monday have Nepali Congress background. The Paudel faction has alleged that party president Sher Bahadur Deuba had unilaterally taken the decision without holding any discussions within the party.
Senior leader Paudel said the decision was taken in an arbitrary manner, and without holding any discussions within the party. "The recommendation is neither balanced, nor inclusive. It is unfortunate that there has not been any representation from the Tarai-Madhes. No one is satisfied with the nomination," Paudel told Republica.
Those recommended from NC include Ramesh Prasad Koirala for Qatar, Bhim Udas for Myanmar, Prof Bishwambher Pyakuryal for Sri Lanka, Arjun Jung Bahadur Singh for South Korea, Dr Chop Lal Bhusal for Bangladesh, and Asha Lama for the United Arab Emirates.
While Koirala is known as close aide to Deuba, Udas is a non-resident Nepali (NRN) leader. Likewise, Pyakuryal is a professor of economics, Singh is a former NC lawmaker from Bajhang and Dr Bhusal is a former president of Nepal Medical Association (NMA). Lama runs a manpower agency.
Rival factions within the NC said not even a single candidate from their faction has been nominated for ambassador. They are preparing to soon hold a meeting with Deuba to lodge their strong protest against what they called 'unilateral' nominations.
The ambassadorial nominations have drawn controversy as most of them are either businessmen or close relatives of the senior leaders of the party with little or no knowledge of diplomacy. Also, the government has decided to open a new embassy in Spain causing additional burden to the state. This decision comes amid calls from various quarters to either relocate some of the 'dysfunctional' embassies to a new place or close them down altogether.
Eight others recommended for ambassadors include Pratibha Rana for Japan, Yubanath Lamsal for Denmark, Padam Sundas for Baharain, Lucky Sherpa for Australia, Prof Mahendra Singh for Saudi Arabia, Sharmila Parajuli for Oman, Niranjan Thapa for Israel, and Bharat Raymajhi for Spain.
While Lamsal, Sherpa, Sundas and Singh are CPN (Maoist Center) supported nominees, Rana, Thapa and Rayamajhi are supported by the Rastriya Prajatantra Party. Likewise, Parajuli is a nominee suppoted by the Madhesi People's Rights Forum (Democratic).
Lamsal is a journalist and a member of international department of the CPN (Maoist Center) and Sundas is associated with Dalit movement in Nepal. Prof Singh was rector at the Tribhuvan University. Likewise, Sherpa, who was lawmaker from the CPN-UML in the first CA election, had joined Maoist Center in the second CA election.
Similarly, Rana is an RPP leader and the mother-in-law of NC President Deuba, Thapa is a former minister since Pachayat. While Rayamaji is a former major general of the Nepal Army, Parajuli is a manpower entrepreneur with little experience and knowledge of diplomacy.