KATHMANDU, July 23: After much deliberation, chairmen duo of Nepal Communist Party (NCP) -- Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal -- have finalized the names of the five key leaders to head the major departments of the party, according to party insiders.
Leaders privy to the latest development informed Republica that the chairmen duo will table the names at the party's secretariat meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
Of the total 32 departments of the party, influential leaders of the newly-unified party were intensely lobbying to get the five coveted posts including the department of organization, school department, finance, foreign affairs, and policy and research department.
The prime minister's press coordinator Chetan Adhikari confirmed that the chairmen duo will table the allocation of responsibility of top leaders heading the central departments.
However, he did not elaborate about the contents of discussion that took place between the top two leaders on Monday.
“Since the party's secretariat meeting is scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday), we can say the discussion was focused on completing the remaining party unification process,” said Adhikari.
Aimed at forging consensus, Oli and Dahal held a one-on-one meeting at the prime minister's residence in Baluwatar on Monday evening before tabling the agenda for the secretariat meeting. Later, the party's general secretary Bishnu Poudel and secretariat member Ram Bahadur Thapa had also joined the meeting following request from the party chiefs.
Both Poudel and Thapa are considered as probable candidates to head the party's organization department. Another NCP leader Bam Dev Gautam has also been claiming the post of organization department chief. The department plays an important role in deciding the party's membership, assigning roles to the cadres and their promotion. Also, the department can influence the party's upcoming general convention.
Like the organization department, party leaders are also divided over whom to name as chief of the party's school department. Ishwar Pokharel and Narayan Kaji Shrestha are said to be eyeing the school department, which is responsible for the interpretation of the party's guiding principle.
Top leaders divided into camps led by Oli and Dahal want to push for their confidant to lead the school department in the context of sharp political division within the party regarding whether to adopt people's multi-party democracy or people's democracy as the party's guiding principle.
Leaders with former UML background want people's multi-party democracy, the theory propounded by their late leader Madan Bhandari as the guiding principle of the newly unified NCP that was formed after merging the then UML and CPN (Maoist Center) into one party. The former Maoists, however, want people's democracy as the party's guiding principle.
Following the dispute over the party's guiding principle, party leaders have for the time being agreed to adopt people's democracy as the guiding principle until the general convention. They have also agreed to open ideological debate only when the general convention takes place.
The party leaders have also reached an understanding to name Madhav Kumar Nepal as the head of the party's international affairs department and Jhala Nath Khanal as the chief of the policy and research department.
The leaders have agreed to allocate the finance department to any of the Maoist leaders.