Coalition partners still at odds over ministerial berths

Kathmandu, August 18:

Persisting differences among the CPN-Maoist, CPN-UML and Madhesi Janadhikar Forum over ministerial berths indicate that power-sharing is not going to be easy.

Differences among coalition partners threw cold water on the Prime Minister’s plan to administer the oath of office and secrecy to his team of ministers today.

“We will join the government once we get water resources, education and local development portfolios,” said an MJF source, adding, “Unlike in the past, we will not accept whatever ministry we are offered.”

“We want to share power, not just the ministries. The Ministry of Water Resources is important for us to improve crop yield in Madhes,” the source said. “If we are not given the portfolio of water resources, we want the Ministry of Home Affairs.”

UML leader Ram Chandra Jha said his party wanted water resources and local development ministries. “We are not hungry for power. We will not join the government if we do not get these ministries,” he said.

Jha added that UML general secretary Jhala Nath Khanal, talking to Prime Minister Prachanda over phone, had objected to Maoist leader Dev Gurung’s claim over local development and water resources ministries.

“The PM invited Khanal for talks to sort out the issue. But the talks could not take place as everyone was busy with the swearing-in ceremony,” Jha said.

According to UML leader Shankar Pokharel, the Maoists, during talks, had agreed to give the UML the portfolios of defence, home affairs, local development, and forest and soil conservation. Pokharel accused the MJF of becoming more demanding and criticised the Maoists for maintaining double standards.

MJF approves CMP

KATHMANDU: The parliamentary party of the Madheshi Janadhikar Forum on Monday approved the common minimum programme of the Maoist-UML-MJF alliance. Publicity department chief of MJF BP Yadav said the political committee of the party would designate party’s nominees for ministerial posts. “We have not finalised the names,” Yadav said. — HNS