Rai, Raut, Pokhrel appointed CMs

Biratnagar/Janakpurdham/Bhairahawa, February 14

CPN-UML’s Sherdhan Rai, Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal’s Mohammad Lalbabu Raut Gaddi and CPN-UML’s Shankar Pokhrel were appointed chief ministers of provinces 1,2 and 5 respectively today.

All three chief ministers will take the oath of office and secrecy from governors of the respective provinces tomorrow.

Province 1 Governor Govinda Tumbahang appointed Rai as chief minister of the province. Governor Tumbahang handed the appointment letter to Rai.

Rai, who is a former minister of Information and Communications, said he would form a small Cabinet after swearing in tomorrow. “A small-sized cabinet will be formed tomorrow,” Rai said.

The CPN-UML has majority in Province 1, but Rai bagged the post of chief minister with support from the CPN-Maoist Centre also. Rai said he was moving ahead in line with the left alliance’s agreement. “We shall expand the Cabinet in consensus,” Rai said.

Of the total 93 members in the PA, UML has 51 members while the Maoist Centre has 16 seats.

The Maoist Centre has warned that the party will not join the Cabinet if it does not get respectable positions in the Cabinet. The CPN-MC has sought respectable participation as the UML has taken the posts of chief minister and speaker of the Provincial Assembly.

The Maoist Centre warned it would not join the Cabinet as the UML asked them to choose any ministry except the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law and Ministry of Financial Affairs and Planning. A UML leader said that UML’s Hikmat Karki, Jivan Ghimire and Jagjit Kushiyat will take the oath of office in the first phase.

Similarly, Province 2 Governor Ratnesworlal Kayastha handed over the appointment letter to newly appointed Chief Minister Mohammad Lalbabu Raut Gaddi of Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal at a ceremony at the Office of the Governor today. FSF-N and Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal will form the Cabinet in the province. FSF-N and RJP-N have 54 seats combined in the Provincial Assembly.

After Governor Kayastha called on the largest parties in the PA to form the government, FSF-N and RJP-N submitted a letter claiming that they would form the government.

Chief Minister Raut will take the oath of office and secrecy in the open theatre of Janakpur Cigarette Factory tomorrow. After swearing in, Raut will form a small Cabinet tomorrow itself. As per the agreement reached between FSF-N and RJP-N, the former will get the chief minister’s post while RJP-N will get the post of speaker. FSF-N has bagged the post of deputy speaker, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Financial Affairs. RJP-N has got Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Physical Infrastructure. Out of the six ministries, each party will take three ministries each.

Meanwhile, Province 5 Governor Umakant Jha appointed UML leader Shankar Pokhrel as chief minister. After taking oath of office and secrecy, Pokhrel will form a three-member Cabinet comprising one minister each from UML and the Maoist Centre tomorrow. Jha appointed Pokhrel to the post of CM after the UML and Maoist Centre staked claim in Pokhrel’s name.

Pokhrel is preparing to appoint UML’s Baijanath Chaudhary to the Ministry of Financial Affairs and Maoist Centre’s Kul Bahadur KC to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Law.

In line with the agreement inked between UML and Maoist Centre, preparation is on to form a nine-member Cabinet in the province.

A discussion is under way to keep six ministries, including the chief minister for the UML and three for the Maoist Centre.