As the constituents of the five-party alliance remain undecided on the names of ministerial candidates for the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led government, the much-expected reshuffle of the Cabinet is likely to get pushed further. Deuba, who was appointed the prime minister on July 13, only has five members in his Cabinet.

The PM's Nepali Congress, the CPN-Maoist Centre, the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal, and the Madhav Kumar Nepal-Jhalanath Khanal faction of the CPN-UML have not decided on the names of their representatives who will join the Deuba government.

The Janamorcha Nepal, which is also a partner in the five-party alliance, has said it will not join the government.

Beduram Bhusal, a UML leader of the Nepal-Khanal faction, said his faction would not join the coalition government unless unity issues in the UML were resolved.

Bhusal said the Nepal-Khanal faction of the UML helped Deuba form the government to save the constitution and to ensure that the House of Representatives completed its full five-year term. They did so not to join the Deuba government, he added. "If a threat against the HoR arises again, we will again stand in favour of saving the HoR," Bhusal said.

The UML's Nepal-Khanal faction had, along with other opposition parties, filed a case at the Supreme Court seeking reinstatement of the HoR that was dissolved for the second time on KP Sharma Oli's recommendation on May 22. The apex court later reinstated the HoR.

UML lawmakers from the Nepal-Khanal faction had voted in favour of Deuba during the trust vote.

Bhusal said lawmakers from the Nepal-Khanal faction could decide on joining the government after the factional feud in the UML ended. The Nepal-Khanal faction does not have 40 per cent support in the UML's central committee and the parliamentary party required to split the party.

CPN-MC Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said Deuba had not told coalition partners what to expect in the new Cabinet. "Once we get the number and names of ministries allotted to us, we can decide who will be our ministers in the government," Shrestha said. He added that the Cabinet reshuffle could take place in the next two days.

Shrestha said the Cabinet was not reshuffled earlier because the Upendra Yadav-Baburam Bhattarai faction of the JSP-N had requested the PM to delay the reshuffle, as the Election Commission was to decide on the JSP-N authenticity row. Now that the EC has decided to recognise the Yadav-Bhattarai faction as the authentic JSP-N, it would decide on the names of its ministers, he added.

The executive committee of the JSP-N had entrusted the responsibility of selecting ministerial candidates to three top leaders - party Chair Upendra Yadav, party's Federal Council Chair Baburam Bhattarai, and senior leader Ashok Kumar Rai.

The executive committee was expecting the trio to disclose the names today, but that did not happen.

A JSP-N executive committee member told THT that the party leadership was having difficulty in selecting the names as there were too many aspirants for ministerial berths.

A version of this article appears in the print on July 30 2021, of The Himalayan Times.