Infighting in NC stalls Cabinet expansion

- SARIN GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Aug 25, 2016-

Infighting has once again reared its ugly head in the Nepali Congress (NC), the key coalition partner in the Pushpa Kamal Dahal government, resulting in delay in the expansion of the Cabinet, which is yet to get the full shape even after three weeks. 

The NC, which had said it would send its ministers on Wednesday, failed to finalise the names after a certain section within the party objected to party President Sher Bahadur Deuba’s “list of ministers”.

A meeting of a faction led by senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel on Wednesday rejected Deuba’s offer of four ministers to the camp. The Poudel-led faction has been insisting that it should get at least five ministries. 

“Our party president should follow the tradition of respecting other voices within the party,” said NC leader Gururaj Ghimire.As per an understanding reached between the CPN (Maoist Centre) and the NC, the Congress party is set to handle 13 ministries. 

The NC has so far sent only two ministers to the government. Bimalendra Nidhi and Ramesh Lekhak had on August 4 taken the oath of office as deputy prime minister and minister for physical infrastructure and transport respectively after Dahal was sworn into office. Nidhi is also looking after the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

Despite the differences between the party president and the Poudel-led faction, leaders said the establishment side has already confirmed four names. 

According to sources, Arjun Narsingh KC, Prakash Sharan Mahat, Bal Krishna Khand and Jeevan Bahadur Shahi are certain to join the government. Ambika Basnet, Min Bishwakarma and Bhisma Raj Angdembe are being discussed in the NC as possible ministerial candidates.

Deuba has also allotted a ministry each to two other power centres within the party--one led by Krishna Prasad Sitaula and the other by Khum Bahadur Khadka. 

Gagan Thapa and Sudhir Kumar Siwakoti are said to be frontrunners from the Sitaula camp. Either Mohan Basnet or Shankar Bhandari is likely to make it to the Cabinet from Khadka’s side. Deuba is leaving for a regular medical checkup to Singapore on Friday. Leaders, however, said that consensus on the names of ministers will be reached before he leaves for Singapore. “The party president is trying his best to settle the issue. We will submit our list by Thursday,” said NC leader Bal Krishna Khand.

Published: 25-08-2016 10:23

User's Feedback

Click here for your comments

Comment via Facebook

Don't have facebook account? Use this form to comment