KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 15
Even two months after coming to power, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has not been able to expand his Cabinet.
There are four Cabinet ministers and one state minister, with Deuba holding 17 portfolios.
The PM has not been able to expand the Cabinet mainly because the Madhav Kumar Nepal-led CPN (Unified Socialist) and the Upendra Yadav-led Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal fear that if the ordinance that lowered the threshold for splitting the political parties was not rendered ineffective before the expansion of the Cabinet, they could suffer splits. Asked why the PM had not been able to expand the Cabinet, General Secretary of Nepali Congress Purna Bahadur Khadka said the PM had been talking to the ruling alliance partners, but he was not in a position to give a clear timeline for the expansion of the Cabinet.
"The government has not been able to expand the Cabinet mainly because it has to settle the Political Party Act (Second Amendment) Ordinance and some other issues," he added.
JSP-N leader Rajendra Prasad Shrestha said the expansion could take place only after a final decision was taken on the ordinance.
"I think a bill to replace the ordinance will be passed. This was supposed to happen soon, but since the main opposition CPN- UML has been stalling the House proceedings, it could take some more days," Shrestha added.
After the Sher Bahadur Deuba government had brought the Political Party Act (Second Amendment) Ordinance to lower the threshold for splitting parties, the faction of the CPN-UML led by Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal split the party and formed a new party.
The faction of the JSP-N led by Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato also split the party and formed a new party -- Democratic Socialist Party-Nepal.
This ordinance has lowered the threshold for splitting the parties from 40 per cent support in both the central committee and the parliamentary party to 20 per cent support either in the central committee or the parliamentary party. CPN (Unified Socialist) party leader Birodh Khatiwada said his party was in favour of settling the ordinance issues by rendering the ordinance ineffective or replacing it with a Replacement Bill before expanding the Cabinet. " I am not sure how long it will take to settle the ordinance issue," he said.
A version of this article appears in the print on September 16 2021, of The Himalayan Times.