Published On: April 1, 2023 07:00 PM NPT By: Bhuwan Sharma
Resignation of Khan from Janmat Party, 6 more ministries vacant
KATHMANDU, April 1: After a long tug-of-war, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal reconstituted the cabinet on Friday. The reshuffled cabinet has 17 members. Although Dahal was supported by 10 parties, only seven of them including Maoist Center, Nepali Congress, Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP), CPN (Unified Socialist), Loktantrik Samajwadi Party (LSP), Nepal Samajwadi Party (NSP) and Nagarik Unmukti Party joined the government.
Dahal, who became the Prime Minister on December 25, reconstituted the cabinet for the seventh time on Friday. However, six ministries are still vacant. The Nepali Congress has only four ministers out of the eight ministries it has staked claim on. Similarly, JSP, which demanded two ministries, has sent only one minister to the cabinet. Meanwhile, Abdul Khan, former minister for water supply and sanitation from Janamat Party, resigned on Friday. Thus, six ministries are currently without ministers.
Prime Minister Dahal has retained the ministries of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Water Supply and Sanitation, Foreign Affairs, Forest and Environment, Youth and Sports and Health and Population. Among them, the ruling alliance has already decided to allocate the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Law and Sports Ministry to the Nepali Congress.
Similarly, the Ministry of Forest and Environment was given to JSP and the Ministry of Water Supply to the Janamat Party. Janamat Party became furious after the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies was given to Nepali Congress and the Ministry of Agriculture was given to CPN (Unified Socialist). Subsequently, Khan submitted his resignation expressing dissatisfaction.
Purna Bahadur Khadka has been given the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense, Narayankaji Shrestha as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Beduram Bhusal as Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development, Ashok Kumar as Rai Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Sarat Singh Bhandari as Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security, Prakash Sharan Mahat has become the finance minister.
Likewise, Mahindra Raya Yadav was appointed as Minister for Women, Children and Senior Citizens, Shakti Basnet as Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Rekha Sharma as Ministry for Communication and Information Technology, Sudan Kirati as Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Amanlal Modi as Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration, Prakash Jwala as Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Ranjita Shrestha has become the Minister for Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, Ramesh Rijal as Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies and Sita Gurung as Minister for Urban Development. Sushila Sirpali Thakuri has become the Minister of State for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.
Controversy within Nepali Congress
Controversy has arisen within the Nepali Congress regarding the selection of the ministers’ name. That is why Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba has sent only four people to the government although the Nepali Congress has been allocated eight ministries. According to the sources, the rival faction of NC led by Shekhar Koirala-Gagan Thapa group has demanded three ministers. But NC President Deuba was ready to give only two ministries to the rival group. Deuba was ready to give the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Sports to thr Koirala-Thapa faction but they maintained the position of not joining the government until they get three ministries. After the NC’s rival faction did not give their names, Deuba gave the names of only four ministers to Prime Minister Dahal.
Khadka, Mahat, Rijal and Gurung, who joined the government from Nepali Congress this time, are considered close to President Deuba. No one was sent from the quota of Prakashman Singh, Shashank Koirala and Krishna Sitaula. From Deuba’s quota, the names of NP Saud and Mohan Basnet were in discussion till the last minute but the names of both of them were not included in the list of ministers.
JSP chairman Yadav fears by-election
JSP chairman Upendra Yadav forwarded the name of only one minister as he is afraid that he will not be supported in the by-elections. The ruling parties had earlier agreed to allocate two ministries to JSP. But Yadav proposed only Ashok Rai to represent the party in the government. There was no dispute within JSP about Rai, but there was a dispute about who should be sent for the remaining one seat. All JSP MPs are eager to join the government.
Pradeep Yadav, Raj Kishor Yadav and Rekha Yadav were lobbying hard till Friday morning to become ministers. Upendra Yadav is afraid that if one of them is sent to the government, the rest of the MPs who could not join the government may unite and not help him in the by-elections. "That's why the president has sent only one person from the party to the government until the by-elections," said a JSP leader. According to the leader, another MP will be sent to the government after the by-election. It has almost been decided that Chairman Yadav will contest in the by-election to be held on April 23 from Bara-2.
Sarat Singh Bhandari as minister over again
Sarat Singh Bhandari, who has been appointed as the minister for labour, employment and social security in the Dahal led-government, has been a minister 18 times before. On Friday, he became a minister for the 19th time, according to sources. Bhandari has been a minister continuously since the Panchayat period.
He was Assistant Minister for Local Development for the first time in 1987. After that, he became Minister of State for Commerce in 1988 and then a State Minister without portfolio of 1995. Bhandari, who was again appointed a Minister without Portfolio in 1996, became the Minister for Youth, Sports and Culture in 1997. He became the Minister for Youth, Sports again in 1999. He also became the Minister for Health in the same year.
Similarly, he became the Minister for Health again in 2001 and became the Minister for Tourism in 2009. In the year 2011, he also held the responsibility of Defense Minister. In the year 2021, he got the opportunity to become the energy minister in the government led by UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli. Bhandari was also a minister at times other times than mentioned above.
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