Kathmandu, August 6
The much anticipated cabinet expansion is likely to be stalled for some days as the Nepali Congress wants to settle intra-party wrangling over government expansion and allow the party’s sister wing Nepal Student Union’s national convention, beginning tomorrow, to hold voting for its new leadership.
Also, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is facing problems accommodating aspirants from his party as well as some fringe parties.
Dahal and NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba discussed the matter at the latter’s residence in Budhanilakntha today.
Deuba requested Dahal to wait for some days, said sources close to Deuba. As cabinet expansion before the NSU’s voting slated for August 9 could affect the vote and the party’s internal power balance, Deuba wanted to buy some time, according to sources.
“Deuba will begin picking names for ministerial berths from the NC after inaugurating the convention tomorrow. However, he will not provide names to the PM before the NSU vote concludes,” said NC sources.
Deuba’s rival faction led by Ramchandra Paudel, had decided not to send names for ministerial berths to Deuba until the party president discussed the criteria for recommending names for ministership at the party’s Central Working Committee. Deuba has not held talks with Paudel’s faction so far. He is preparing to hold talks and decide after the NSU vote, said sources.
NC leader and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Bimalendra Nidhi said it might take two to four days to expand the cabinet as homework was under way. Talks are also under way with Madhes-based parties on inducting their leaders in the government and addressing their demands gradually, Nidhi said.
Dahal urged Deuba to decide on the names for ministerial berths soon at today’s meeting, according to his personal secretary Ramesh Malla. “The PM wants to expand the cabinet soon. Deuba, however, wants time for internal homework,” he said.
The two also discussed bringing Madhes-based parties in the government while expanding the cabinet. “Both leaders discussed ways to make the new constitution acceptable to the agitating communities and induct them in the government. They will continue efforts to forge consensus among parties before taking the constitution amendment bill to the Parliament,” Malla said.
Dahal and Deuba also agreed to write to Rastriya Prajantra Party to send names for two ministerial berths, said Malla. “Ministries to be allotted to the RPP are yet to be decided,” he said.
Although Dahal had formed a six-member cabinet on Thursday, he has not been able to give complete shape to the cabinet.
A version of this article appears in print on August 07, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.