Ruling CPN has decided to nominate Vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam to the National Assembly.
CPN Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said that the party's secretariat meeting at Baluwatar Thursday has decided to recommend Gautam to the vacant seat to be filled by the president on recommendation of the Cabinet.
Shrestha added that Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli stated that the government will recommend the name of Gautam to the president for the vacant seat of National Assembly.
PM Oli also briefed about the government's work to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, and rescue and relief efforts to address the floods and landslides across the country during the meeting.
The issue of taking Bam Dev Gautam to the federal parliament was again roiling ruling CPN.
The party's secretariat on February 26 had decided to take Gautam to the National Assembly. Prime Minister (PM) and CPN Chairman KP Sharma Oli on May 2 then offered to take Vice-chairman Gautam to the House of Representatives (HoR) to bring Gautam to his faction from that of fellow Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal.
But Oli did not take Gautam to the HoR and now Gautam, who in February had stated that he will go to the National Assembly only if the Constitution were amended allowing a National Assembly member to become PM, is insisting that he wants to go the National Assembly.
He wants to be nominated by the president in the seat vacant after Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada's term ended on March 3 after two years following drawing of lottery. Khatiwada is still serving as minister despite not being a federal lawmaker but he can no longer after September 5 as it will be over six months without him being a lawmaker.
Oli wanted to again nominate Khatiwada to the National Assembly and continue him as finance minister. "PM Oli advised Gautam on August 28 to vacate the Dolpa constituency and contest for HoR. He again repeated the advice two days later," a Baluwatar source confided with Setopati.
Gautam had not responded then but he met Oli at Baluwatar on Monday and demanded that he be taken to the National Assembly. Gautam clearly hinted that he wants to go to the National Assembly and become deputy PM and finance minister.
Gautam argued that while PM can choose whom he wants to make a minister, he should be taken to the National Assembly as the party has already taken a decision to that regard. Oli listened to Gautam but did not respond, according to the source.
Oli had been insisting that Khatiwada should again be taken to the National Assembly and continued as finance minister arguing there are no other competent persons to handle the economy in the current difficult situation. He was pointing that only Khatiwada can face the challenges when revenue is falling, and other countries including China and India are not providing necessary assistance during the pandemic.
Oli tried to convince Gautam to not insist for getting to the National Assembly even Wednesday night but to no avail.