Print Edition - 2011-09-05 | The Economist
PM Bhattarai swears in 13 more Cabinet members
Sep 4, 2011-
The Cabinet was finally expanded with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai adding 13 new ministers to his team.
Bhattarai administered the oath of office to the new ministers in the presence of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav in Sheetal Niwas, the President’s residence.
However, Sarad Singh Bhandari of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik (MJF-L), who was widely tipped to become the defence minister did not take the oath after his party failed to send his name to the Prime Minister’s Office. Sources said Bhandari’s name was removed at the 11th hour after party Chairman, Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Home Minister Bijay Kumar Gachchadar called the PM and asked him to strike his name off the list. Party sources also said leaders objected to the move to send Bhandari in the Cabinet ‘again.’ Bhandari was tourism minister in the Madhav Kumar Nepal-led government.
The environment minister’s berth allocated to the MJF-L was also not filled on Sunday.
According to MJF-L leader Ramjanam Chaudary, Bhandari may be sent in the second expansion, if that happens.
With the new addition, the Cabinet strength has gone up to 15. Bhattarai and Gachchadar were already sworn in on Aug 29. The UCPN (Maoist) has also secured a DPM berth after the party’s Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha was sworn in as DPM and foreign minister.
Other members of the party in the Cabinet include Post Bahadur Bogati, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Barsaman Pun, Prabhu Sah and Kamala Roka.
The newly inducted ministers from the constituent parties of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) include Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta, Nandan Dutt and Raj Lal Yadav of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Ganatantrik, Hridayesh Tripathy of Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party, Rajendra Mahato of Sadhbhawana party and Mohamad Wokil Musalman of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik.
While the TMLP was given two ministries, only Tripathy was sworn in on Sunday. Party sources said one more candidate will be sent to the Cabinet in a couple of days. Smiliar is the case with the TMLP-N. The party’s leader, Dan Bahadur Chaudary, said another candidate will be sent after consultations in the party and that party Chairman Mahendra Yadav would join the Cabinet for now.
The Mohan Baidya faction of the Maoists did not send its candidates to the Cabinet even though the party leadership had asked for them.
New ministers, portfolios
• Narayan Kaji Shrestha—Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs
• Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta— Information and Communications
• Hridayes Tripathy—Physical Planning and Works / Law and Justice
• Post Bahadur Bogati—Energy
• Top Bahadur Rayamajhi—Local Development
• Rajendra Mahato—Health and Population
• Barsaman Pun—Finance
• Mahendra Yadav—Irrigation/Women, Children and Social Welfare
• Prabhu Sah—Land Reforms and Management
• Nandan Kumar Dutt—Agriculture and Cooperatives
• Kamala Roka—Youth and Sports
• Raj Lal Yadav—Minister without Portfolio
• Mohamad Wokil Musalman—Forest and Soil Conservation
Published: 05-09-2011 07:38