The much-awaited expansion of the Sher Bahadur Deuba Cabinet was pushed further today, as the five-party ruling alliance failed to prepare the list of leaders who could be inducted into the Cabinet. Earlier, the ruling party alliance leaders had said that the PM would give full shape to the Cabinet by today.

The PM held a meeting with the top leaders of the five-party ruling alliance, but could not expand the Cabinet. A CPN-Maoist Centre leader told THT that his party had finalised the names of ministers, but the Cabinet expansion was delayed mainly due to intra-party rift in the Nepali Congress and the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal.

"As far as I know, CPN (Unified Socialist) has also finalised the names of its ministers.

Only the NC and the JSP-N remain undecided about who should be inducted into the Cabinet from their parties," the CPN-MC leader said.

CPN-MC had decided yesterday to send lawmakers Devendra Paudel, Shashi Shrestha, Maheshwar Jung Gahatraj, and Bodhmaya Kumari Yadav to the Cabinet.

The JSP-N, the CPN (Unified Socialist), and the NC fear that if they publicise names of their ministers ahead of Cabinet expansion, dealing with pressure from aspirants within their parties would be difficult.

Meanwhile, CPN (US) Spokesperson Jagannath Khatiwada told mediapersons after the party's standing committee meeting that the ruling alliance had agreed to support his party's candidates to become new chief ministers in Province 1 and Bagmati. In these two provinces, the incumbent chief ministers, who are from the CPN-UML, have lost the support of majority members after the rival faction of the UML split the party at the centre and formed CPN (Unified Socialist).

Khatiwada said his party secretariat would take the final call on who should be ministers tomorrow. He said his party had got four Cabinet portfolios - labour, employment, and social security; culture, tourism, and civil aviation; and urban development and health - and was expecting a fifth Cabinet berth at the eleventh hour. Khatiwada said the Cabinet could be expanded in the next two days.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 8, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.