January 19, 2017 07:58 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Jan 19: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is set to expand his cabinet on Thursday by adding two new ministers from two fringe parties.
According to Ramesh Malla Thakuri at the Prime Minister’s Secretariat, Dahal is making preparations to add two new ministers by Thursday. This will be his fifth cabinet expansion in five-and-a-half months. Dahal was elected as the 39th Prime Minister of Nepal on August 3, 2016.
Dahal is preparing to induct the chairman of Akhanda Nepal Party, Kumar Khadka, and chairman of the Nepal Socialist People’s Party, Prem Bahadur Singh, in his cabinet. Khadka will be appointed as the minister for women, children and social welfare while Singh will be made the minister for water supply and sanitation.
PM Dahal has already initiated the process of appointing the two ministers and also informed the President’s Office about the possible expansion.
As the government has tabled constitution amendment bill in parliament to address the demands of the agitating Madhes-based parties and a two-thirds majority of parliament is required to pass the bill, PM Dahal is in a mood to further extend the cabinet. The prime minister has been trying to include the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (Democratic) as well as urging Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) Chairman Kamal Thapa in the government.
Though the Madhes-based parties, which had voted to elect Dahal as prime minister after reaching an agreement on amending constitution, have given green signal for expanding the cabinet by inducting MPRF-D Chairman Bijay Gachchhadar and RPP Chairman Thapa, the prime minister has yet to finalize negotiations with the two leaders.
Currently, Dahal’s council of ministers has 41 members including 14 ministers of state.