Nepal | March 31, 2020

Cabinet expansion likely within this week

Rupesh Acharya

File  – The newly elected Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba attends the cabinet meeting at the Office of Prime Ministers and Council of Ministers in Singhadarbar, Kathmandu, on Wednesday, June 7, 2017. Photo: RSS

Kathmandu, July 15

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is preparing to expand his Cabinet within a week.

Ruling parties’ sources said the PM was waiting to discuss cabinet expansion with CPN-Maoist Centre Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is returning home from Thailand tomorrow.

According to Nepali Congress leader Ramesh Lekhak, the PM and senior Nepali Congress leader Ramchandra Paudel will finalise the names of NC lawmakers to be inducted in the Cabinet.

An NC source said party leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Khum Bahadur Khadka had recommended Bhimsen Das Pradhan and Mohan Basnet respectively.

The source also said Paudel had recommended five names, but Deuba asked him to reduce the list to three.

According to the source, Paudel recommended Ram Krishna Yadav, Kamala Devi Panta and Bal Bahadur KC.

Similarly,  Ram Sharan Mahat has recommended Rajan KC and NC General Secretary Shashank Koirala recommended Dipak Khadka.

The source also said Deuba could choose  lawmakers Min Bahadur Bishwokarma and Bhisma Raj Angdambe to be inducted in the Cabinet.

NC leader Bal Krishna Khand said delay on the part of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal in joining the government was
also one reason why Deuba was taking time to expand his Cabinet.

According to a source close to CPN-MC Chair Dahal, the party has already made tentative criteria for ministerial posts.

“Most likely, new faces will be inducted in the Cabinet,” sources said.

CPN-MC has been demanding nine portfolios, but the NC has offered only eight.

“If the Upendra Yadav-led FSF-N joins the government, we might get only seven portfolios,” said the CPN-MC source.

The source said the party secretariat would finalise the names of party lawmakers to be inducted in the Cabinet, on Monday.

Currently CPN-MC lawmakers hold the portfolios of  foreign affairs, home affairs and urban development.

The CPN-MC is expected to get the portfolios of information and communications, health, agricultural development, energy and general administration.

According to the source, CPN-MC is likely to pick lawmakers in a way that ensures representation of all the provinces.

The CPN-MC source said the party was likely to send   Shiva Kumar Mandal Kewat (Morang)  and Shyam Kumar Shrestha from Ramechhap to the Cabinet. Likewise, CPN-MC Chief Whip Tek Bahadur Basnet (Bardiya) could also be inducted.  Similarly, the CPN MC could pick Mahendra Bahadur Shahi from Karnali region and Asha Koirala from among women lawmakers. “The party may choose a Dalit candidate too,” the source said.

The ruling parties  could also induct Akhanda Nepal Party lawmaker Kumar Khadka and Samajwadi Janata Dal lawmaker Prem Bhadur Singh in the Cabinet.

A version of this article appears in print on July 16, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

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