#Gandaki Cabinet Expansion

Phanindra Devkota appointed as Energy Minister, Manange as Physical Infrastructure Minister

Published On: June 11, 2024 02:20 PM NPT By: Republica

KATHMANDU, June 11: The Gandaki Province cabinet has been expanded with the appointment of new ministers Phanindra Devkota and Rajeeb Gurung (also known as Deepak Manange), who have both taken the oath of office and secrecy.

Devkota has been assigned the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources, and Drinking Water, while Manange has taken on the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.

Phanindra Devkota, a Member of Parliament (MP) from the Nepal Samajwadi Party, was elected using the Maoist election symbol and voted in favor of Surendra Raj Pandey despite a party whip. Devkota, currently the Chairman of the Social Development Committee of the provincial assembly from the Maoist quota, claims to be a provincial assembly member of a separate party. He crossed the floor to give a vote of confidence to Chief Minister Surendra Raj Pandey, securing his ministerial position.

Rajeeb Gurung, an independent provincial lawmaker from Manang who had said he would help support the member likely to secure a majority in the 60-member provincial assembly, has been appointed as the Minister for Physical Infrastructure for the second time by Chief Minister Pandey. Following the Maoists' withdrawal of support, Manange was assigned the portfolio on April 17 as part of a strategic move by Surendra Raj Pandey to consolidate power.

Overall, this marks the sixth time Manange has served as a minister in Gandaki Province.

Surendra Raj Pandey, the leader of the Nepali Congress in the provincial assembly, was appointed Chief Minister on May 26 after a Supreme Court order mandated the appointment of the Chief Minister from the largest party. Previously, CPN-UML leader Khagraj Adhikari held the position until his removal. Although Adhikari's appointment was initially upheld by the Speaker's vote, the Supreme Court later annulled it.