KATHMANDU, Aug 5: The 'indecisiveness' of the Madhav Kumar Nepal-led faction of the CPN-UML over whether to join the government has caused an inordinate delay in the expansion of the Sher Bahadur Deuba-led Cabinet.
Leaders close to Prime Minister Deuba said senior leader Nepal has asked Deuba to wait for two more days before he could take a final decision. The cabinet is likely to see its expansion after the decision of the Nepal-led faction of the UML.
"The Prime Minister has told UML leader Nepal that the inordinate delay in giving full shape to the Cabinet has sent a negative message about the government. The prime minister has also asked him to give the final decision at the earliest so that he could allocate the ministerial portfolios to the coalition partners," said a senior leader of Nepali Congress (NC). "Madhav Nepal has said that he will give his final decision within the next two days. Prime Minister Deuba has expedited necessary preparations to expand the Cabinet."
Of the total 25-member Cabinet, Prime Minister Deuba has inducted four ministers and one state minister into his cabinet. Even as three weeks have already passed by since he was sworn in as the new prime minister, Deuba has been unable to expand the Cabinet, courting criticism from various quarters.
Sources said Prime Minister Deuba and CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal have agreed to provide six ministerial portfolios to the Nepal-led faction if they decide to be part of the new government.
Senior NC leaders said they expect the Nepal-led faction of the UML to take a final decision on whether to join the new Cabinet through the central working committee meeting called by the Nepal-led faction on Thursday. The meeting has begun at a party palace in Buddhanagar even as the establishment faction has asked UML leaders and cadres not to attend the meeting.
As the efforts to patch up the differences between Oli and Nepal are still underway, two influential leaders close to Nepal — Yogesh Bhattarai and Surendra Pandey – have decided not to attend the Standing Committee meeting of the Nepal-led faction. Sources said senior leader Nepal is also facing mounting pressure not to split the party even if this requires him to make some compromises.
Keeping in view the Nepal faction's indecisiveness amid concern of his political future, CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on behalf of the ruling alliance has offered him the position of prime minister after new election and the position of coordinator of political mechanism to be formed to facilitate the day-to-day functioning of the government.