KATHMANDU, July 29: The government on Sunday elevated Leela Mani Paudyal, secretary at the prime minister ´s office (PMO), to the post of chief secretary.
A cabinet meeting held in Singha Durbar decided to appoint Paudyal on the top post of the bureaucracy. "Despite our efforts to make the bureaucracy inclusive, we agreed to promote Paudyal as chief secretary at the prime minister´s request as it is the PM who should be working closely with chief secretary," Raj Kishor Yadav, government spokesperson, said.
Yadav, also information and communications minister, said Paudyal will remain as acting chief secretary until August 5 and will assume full charge on August 6, when outgoing Chief Secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire retires.
(This is an update on the following story)
A two-hour meeting between the ruling coalition partners UCPN (Maoist) and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) failed to name the new chief secretary, with both the sides throwing weight behind their own preferred candidates for the post of top bureaucrat.
The meeting that began at 9 am at the prime minister’s office in Singha Durbar Sunday morning could not name the secretary to succeed outgoing Chief Secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire after Maoists kept maintaining that Leela Mani Paudyal be elevated to the top post while Madhesi leaders continued favoring Umakant Jha for the same.
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Mahantha Thakur, a key UDMF leader, said they kept pushing for Jha as new chief secretary to make the bureaucracy inclusive. Meanwhile, a cabinet meeting is taking place in Singha Durbar to decide who should be promoted as chief secretary.
Incumbent Chief Secretary Ghimire is going on a mandatory leave from today prior to his retirement on August 5. The cabinet meeting on Friday which was expected to name the secretary to work as acting chief secretary until that time had however failed to do so.
A day earlier, the Madhesi parties having reservations over appointment of Paudyal as the new chief secretary also threatened to boycott the cabinet meeting if the cabinet appointed Paudyal on the post.