Dahal mulls Cabinet expansion to ensure amendment passage

KATHMANDU: Prem Bahadur Singh, lawmaker and chairman of fringe Samajwadi Janata Party, hopes to return to the power as a minister as Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is mulling expansion of his Cabinet.

In an apparent attempt to garner more support for the Constitution amendment bill that the Nepali Congress-Maoist coalition tabled at the House, Prime Minister Dahal is expected to add four ministers, including Singh and Kumar Khadka of Akhanda Nepal Party.

Singh said he was told he would be sworn in as a minister with the portfolio of Water Supply and Sanitation today itself.

"But I have not received any call yet," he said, hinting that the Cabinet expansion would happen after a few days as Prime Minister Dahal is scheduled to fly to the United Arab Emirates.

Singh had served as minister several times, including in King Gyanendra's Cabinet in 2005.

He had resigned from the erstwhile coalition government in July 2016 after the alliance of Nepali Congress and CPN Maoist Centre pushed a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in their bid to form the current coalition government.

Currently, there are 41 members in the Cabinet including Prime Minister Dahal, who has kept four ministries with himself.