HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai today appointed 12 ministers from Nepali Congress, United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) and his party Unified CPN-Maoist.
Eleven of the newly appointed ministers took the oath of office and secrecy at the President’s office in Shital Niwas at 9:00 pm today in the presence of PM Bhattarai.
The Maoists sent their outgoing ministers including Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Barshaman Pun, Post Bahadur Bogati, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi and Dina Nath Sharma once again. Their portfolios will be determined after UML joins the government on Sunday, sources said.
Two Nepali Congress leaders — Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Surya Man Gurung — have joined Bhattarai’s Cabinet.
Five ministers from UDMF will retain their previous ministerial portfolios. Bijay Kumar Gachhadar (Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister), Raj Kishor Yadav (Information and Communications), Hridayesh Tripathi (Physical Planning and Works), Mahendra Yadav (Irrigation) and Rajendra Mahato (Health). Four of the UDMF leaders were inducted in the Cabinet. Mahato, who is outside Kathmandu Valley, will join the government tomorrow.
Baluwatar sources said UML will give the names of its representatives tomorrow after the central committee meeting. Sources said UML General Secretary Ishwor Pokhrel will lead the party’s team in the government if he is given Home Ministry. However, UDMF leader Gachhadar has already taken the Home Ministry.
Dispute over portfolios is expected to mar cabinet expansion for a few more days.
The first Cabinet meeting after the swearing-in today decided to restructure the existing ministries without increasing the number of ministries.
Minister for Physical Planning and Works Hridayesh Tripathi said the Cabinet decided to appeal to all the people to help implement the five-point pact signed by the major parties on . The meeting also decided to continue making arrangements to rescue the victims of the flood on the Seti River.
The meeting decided to appeal to all the agitating groups to focus on drafting their issues in the new constitution and stop agitating.