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Prime Minister’s Last Main Duties

Issue January 2018

Prime Minister’s Last Main Duties

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba could quietly leave office, and have a nice conjugal life after completing three tasks such as setting the date for the National Assembly election, naming the temporary capitals of seven provinces, and appointing seven provincial chiefs. However, Deuba has earned the reputation of bullying the political leaders, constitution, and even the Election Commission. Deuba has been trying to attract Maoist Chairman Prachanda with an offer of the position of prime minister for five years but Prachanda has publicly declared that he would not accept any government outside of the Left Alliance. Deuba has not left a last chance of showing his incompetence dragging his feet in doing those three things.


Deuba called an all-party meeting at his Baluwatar official residence on January 4, 2018 to build a consensus on those three constitutional tasks of setting an appropriate date to the elections to the National Assembly, finding suitable temporary provincial capitals, and selecting and appointing seven provincial chiefs.


As anticipated, representatives of the five political parties such as CPN-UML, NC, CPN-Maoist-Center, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN), and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) having won the right number of seats in the direct election and right number of votes in proportional representation election to the House of Representatives became the national parties, have been all national political parties, have attended the all-party meeting, and have failed to reach any consensus on anything indicating Deuba has no skill in building a consensus on anything. That leaves Deuba to have an ultimate chance of acting unilaterally on these three issues. Probably, that is what Deuba really wanted.


Absence of some political leaders that have shown their presence in every government and at all all-party meetings in the past has been conspicuous at an all-party meeting Deuba called on January 4, 2018. He is Kamal Thapa but his colleague Bijaya Kumar Gacchedar managed to attend an all-party meeting but as a tail of Deuba not as a leader of any party.


Kamal Thapa is the current deputy prime minister in the Deuba administration but he failed to make his Rastriya Prajatantra Party a national party winning the number of proportional votes required for being a national party. Gacchedar voluntarily merged his party with his parent party NC. Both Thapa and Gacchedar have been out of the circle of the national-political-parties leaders at least for five years.


Thapa and Gacchedar have been very shrewd politicians that managed to hold the position of a deputy prime minister at almost every government no matter which political party led. Both of these guys were very ambitious to be the prime minister but they could not create an environment conducive to make them a prime minister. So, a chance never came to them to be a prime minister. They had to keep their mind satisfied with functioning as the deputy of any prime minister.


Gacchedar would get lost in the NC party politics. He has his own faction in the NC. Whether he would be able to maintain his faction in the so splintery NC party remains to be seen. Gacchedar would not be able to anticipate any deputy prime minister position not even any cabinet position for at least five years to come.


Kamal Thapa has not only lost the chance of enjoying a deputy of any prime minister but also of having any cabinet position in the future. His only option is to take his cadres to the streets for the monarchy and Hindu State. Taking them to street is not an easy job, as he needs a large sum of money to put cadres on the streets. So, he has to find the source of money to hold so many cadres together. However, his party has won some seats in the provinces. That might keep him busy with the provincial politics or follow the Deuba’s command to begin the Hindu-State movement stirred.


If nothing unexpected happens then these two guys Thapa and Gacchedar might have a difficult time in the coming years to stay on afloat in the Nepalese politics. They need to have patience to wait for another five years to have another chance to show their political strength. By that time their physical strength would be depleted considerably.


However, if Thapa and Gacchedar find national or international donors to support them to heat up streets they might have a chance to build some strength for the future elections. Nobody could say their political career has been doomed but surely it would not be so rosy as had been in the past when they enjoyed every possible perks and luxury the position of deputy prime minister had provided them with.


Thapa blamed the split of his Rastriya Parjatantra Party on the eve of the elections, and the democratic alliance for the defeat in the elections, the news in “gorkhapatra” stated on January 6, 2018. However, Thapa is the main reason for his party’s defeat, as he could not force his partner Deuba in the government and also in the democratic alliance to honor the agreement he had reached with.


That brings us to Deuba. Apparently, Deuba should not have any problem of setting the date for the National Assembly election following the constitution, and in consultation with the Election Commission. Chief Election commissioner has already said that he needs at least 30 days to prepare for the National Assembly election. So, what made Deuba to take time to set the date for the National Assembly election? Finally, Deuba set February 7 for the National Assembly election at the cabinet meeting held on January 5, 2018.


Surely, Deuba wants just to keep on in the position of power as long as possible, and distribute the State money to his cadres, and colleagues as much as possible, and appoint persons of his choice to many State positions and State-run corporations.


So, the opposition leaders must have been correctly charging him with the only obvious reason Deuba not setting the date for the National Assembly election might be for lengthening his stay in the Baluwatar official residence of prime minister. As a man of high moral standard, he could have done the setting of the date for the National Assembly election immediately after the president signed off the National Assembly Election Ordinance but he has not been able to do so even after so many days. What incompetence Deuba has been demonstrating.


Deuba has been dragging his feet on the matter of setting the date for the National Assembly election unnecessarily even in the eyes of the leaders of his party. For example, at the Central Working Committee meeting of his party held at his Baluwatar official residence on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, senior NC leaders urged Deuba to set the date for the National Assembly election, appoint provincial chiefs, and make a decision on the temporary capitals of all the seven provinces immediately, the news on stated on January 4, 2018.


In response to the urge of his colleagues for completing the three important constitutional tasks made at the CWC meeting what Deuba said was that he had been continuously holding talks with the top leaders of national political parties; and he held talks with chairman of CPN-Maoist-Center Prachanda, and chairman of FSFN Upendra Yadav on the telephone; and he had called a five-party meeting on Thursday, January 4, 2018 to build a consensus on these issues, the news on stated on January 4, 2018.


The second most important task for Deuba is naming the temporary capitals of seven provinces. Speaking to the anchor of the Radio Nepal morning program called “antar-sambad” on January 5, 2018, Deputy Chairman of CPN-UML Bhim Rawal said that through a State employee, Deuba has leaked the information on the government making the decision on selecting the temporary capitals of provinces, and Rawal hinted at this unwarranted action of Deuba provoked some people to take the issue of the provincial capitals to the street causing political disturbances again.


In a press release on January 3, 2018, the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) has said that the government has not made a decision on the temporary capitals of the provinces refuting the news in the local media. "Nobody should have the wrong impression about the fixing of the temporary capitals as no such decision on assigning places for carrying out the works of the province as per the Article 288 (3) of the Constitution of Nepal has been reached so far," Spokesperson for the OPMCM and Joint Secretary Hari Prasad Panthi said in a press release, the RSS news posted on stated on January 3, 2018.


On January 4, 2018, the delegation of leaders and cadres of different political parties from Doti has said that a serious attention has been drawn to the news of the government declaring Dhangadhi as a temporary capital of province number seven, and submitted a memorandum to Chairman of CPN-Maoist-Center Prachanda and Deputy General Secretary of CPN-UML Bishnu Poudel demanding Dipayal of Doti be declared as the capital of province number seven, according to the news posted on


After the information released on the government making Biratnagar the temporary provincial capital of the province number one, residents of Dhankuta have started off the campaign on making the Dhankuta the capital of the province number one; even though the campaign was started off as a peaceful one it ended up being a violent causing the local administration to mobilize a large number of regular and armed police force, the news in “gorkhapatra” stated on January 5, 2018.


Protesting against the government preparing to declare Dang as the temporary provincial capital of the province number five, residents of Butwal have demonstrated demanding the government to declare Butwal as the provincial capital of the province number five, as Butwal has all sorts of infrastructures required for a capital, the news in “gorkhapatra” stated on January 5, 2018.


The authority of making any town as a provincial capital is with the provincial assemblies. Each provincial assembly could make any town or even settle a new town for a provincial capital with the two-thirds-majority decision. So, folks need to go along with the constitution and make preparation garnering the majority in the provincial assemblies rather than flexing their muscles on the streets.


The last of the three major constitutional tasks of the outgoing Prime Minister Deuba is to appoint provincial chiefs, the most important one, as it would fetch a large sum of money. Deuba could make a lot of money, as the NC leaders had set the tradition of collecting a large sum of money from the candidates for appointing them to ministerial positions or positions of ambassador, and even promoting civil servants and police to high positions. So, at the end of the fourth term, Deuba is going to have a pocketful of money that he would make appointing seven provincial chiefs. The money could be useful for staying on in the position of the president of the NC party and for the next elections to be held after five years, might be even earlier if something goes wrong in the politics, which might be less likely than Deuba wants.


Deuba should not have any problem of appointing seven smart folks except for making sure that folks could bid highest amounts for the positions, to seven provincial chiefs. It might take some time to afloat biddings among the potential candidates but administratively and politically Deuba has no problem at all, as CPN-UML leaders that threatened Deuba their provincial assembly members would not take the oath of office from the provincial chiefs Deuba would appoint, had stepped back and had been quiet obviously understanding the constitutional provision.


So, Deuba with his NC party even defeated in the provincial and federal elections could claim victory in the final political game as he could appoint folks of his choice to seven provincial chiefs, and collect a handsome amount of money from them. Surely, it might be a large sum of money.


So, all the evidences of Deuba taking time to finish the three major constitutional tasks have led the final clue about why Deuba has been dragging his feet to resign from the prime minister even after the devastating defeat of his party in the provincial and federal elections. His sycophants defended him stating the constitutional obligation to complete the elections had made him to stay on in the position of prime minister but his sincere colleagues said that Deuba would have been well off resigning from the position of the prime minister, and he would remain as the prime minister of the caretaker government, and even then he could complete the constitutional obligation.


Students belonging to CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist-Center have been on the streets demanding the Election Commission release the result of the proportional representation election to the House of Representatives so that the Left Alliance could form a new government, and submitted a memorandum to the Chief Election Commissioner demanding the Election Commission formalized the result of the House of Representatives submitting the result to the president and then publishing them in the State gazette. Accepting the memorandum, Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Ayodhee Prasad Yadav has said that he has been for making the election results official as early as possible but the legal and constitutional provision has bound him.


Concerning the allegations the Left Alliance has made of the Election Commission has deliberately deferred the release of election results of the proportional representation (PR) to the House of Representatives, in a statement released on Wednesday, January 3, 2018, EC refuted the allegations stating it has completed tallying the PR votes of the House in the third week of December; and it was committed to submit the PR results of the provincial assemblies to the concerned authority soon after EC would receive the revised lists of the final candidates from the political parties; and EC has repeatedly urged the government to appoint the chiefs of the provinces so that it could submit the list of the provincial assembly members to the respective chief of the provinces within seven days of the publication of the PR results as per the election laws; also election laws did not permit EC to set the number of PR seats in the House before the election to the National Assembly, the news posted on stated on January 4, 2018.


Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Ayodhee Prasad Yadav has urged the political parties and their sister organizations not to allege the EC that it has put on hold the election result. On Wednesday, January 3, 2018, receiving a memorandum from a delegation led by Chairperson Goma Devkota of Nepal Women Association affiliated to the CPN-UML, CEC Dr. Yadav drew the attention of the government not to cast aspersion on the EC. “Where can EC submit the result of provincial assembly election? Where are Chiefs of the provincial assemblies? Why are you very anxious with the election result?” Dr. Yadav wondered before the delegation making it clear that every activity was being carried out in line with the constitution following the due process, the news posted on stated on January 4, 2018.


A delegation of Chief Election Commissioner Dr Ayodhee Prasad Yadav and others election commissioners met with President Bidhya Bhandari at the President’s office Sheetal Niwas on January 4, 2018 to informally familiarize the President with the election activities. The delegation stressed the need for building a political consensus on making public all the results of the House of Representatives and Provincial Assembly elections. The delegation members said that they have been feeling pressure from the protests the Left Alliance and youth and student organizations affiliated to it had launched demanding to make public the result of the proportional representation election to the House of Representatives, according to the news on


In response to the delegation, President Bhandari suggested that the EC should create an environment conducive to build a political consensus on its activities if required, according to Bheshraj Adhikari: the President's Chief Personal Secretary, the news on stated.


The Left Alliance garnered the majority in the elections to the House of Representatives and Provincial Assemblies. So it has been demanding EC to pave the way for forming a new government without any delay making the results public while EC has been taking stand on holding the National Assembly election to guarantee 33 percent of women’ representation in the federal parliament means the Houses of Representatives and the National Assembly put together before making the election results public, the news on stated.


A news report posted on on January 6, 2018 has the following story about the possible irregularities in the expenditures for holding the elections.


Allegedly substantial irregularities have been in the election expenditure for holding the recent polls. Election commissioners held an unusual meeting with the heads of two key anti-graft bodies such as Commission on Investigation into Abuse of Authority (CIAA), and Auditor General having a mandate to investigate irregularities in the administration. Apparently, Election Commissioners have been spending money arbitrarily on the polls.


The government had allocated NPR 10 billion to the parliamentary and provincial elections, and NPR 7 billion to the local elections. Election commissioners have been purportedly misusing the election funding for purchasing T-shirts and printing ballot papers and voter rolls ostensibly for the voter education. Effectiveness of voter education has been questioned after the percentage of rejected votes went so high despite the spending of so much of money on educating voters.


EC has spent over NPR 1 billion on the voter education, but the percentage of the rejected votes remained as high as 20 percent in the case of the proportional representation election. Embarrassed by the so high percentage of redundant votes, EC has not officially announced the unacceptable votes of all three elections so far. Poll observers also have questioned the effectiveness of the voter education program.


Retired election commissioners said that officials of the anti-graft body were never invited to the Election Commission in the past. Having a meeting with the heads of anti-graft bodies before auditing the accounts of the election expenditure, especially when the commission has been already alleged to have involved in massive financial irregularities, was a totally  “suspicious move”, and unacceptable.


CEC Dr Ayodhee Prasad Yadav invited chief of CIAA Deep Basnyat and Auditor General Tanka Mani Sharma at his office on Friday, January 5, 2018. The meeting continued until late evening. Election officials other than commissioners were not allowed to attend the meeting. “I saw some officials from CIAA and Auditor General’s Office coming to our office. But I couldn’t participate in the meeting as we were told it was totally unofficial gathering,” said a senior election official requesting anonymity. The news story ends here.


The Ministry of General Administration has proposed 15 ministries for the federal government, and seven each for provincial governments. The constitution of 2015 has made provision for only 25 ministers including the prime minister for the federal government. So, any prime minister could not increase the number of ministers in any cabinet as high as s/he wanted only to create some jobs for the unemployed political leaders of the partners in the government. The current cabinet of Deuba has 64 members including the Maoists whose portfolios Deuba has rescinded.


Speaking to the media persons at the Parisdada party headquarters in Kathmandu, on January 3, 2018, Chairman of CPN-Maoist Center Prachanda assured the public that he would not betray the Left Alliance for the position of prime minister; he stated that the people have endorsed unification of his party with CPN-UML through the election, the news on stated on January 3, 2018. “I have not thought about becoming PM quitting the left alliance,” he stated. “We went to the election forging an alliance with promise of unification. The people’s endorsement is for that,” he said. Prachanda himself had revealed a few days ago that NC has offered him the position of prime minister, the news stated.


Some NC leaders such as Ramesh Lekhak and Mahendra Yadav have been publicly offering their support for Prachanda to be a prime minister; they said that NC would help Prachanda to be a prime minister if he were ready to form a government in alliance with their party, the news on stated on January 4, 2018. They have been trying to break up the Left Alliance, and to test how committed the leaders of the Left alliance particularly of Prachanda to their alliance.


January 6, 2018


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