NC’s ministerial berth pangs finally over

  • Deuba accedes to Poudel-led faction’s demand
  • Swearing-in of Congress ministers likely today
- SARIN GHIMIRE, Kathmandu

Aug 26, 2016-

An internal dispute in the Nepali Congress (NC) over the distribution of ministries was settled on Thursday after party President Sher Bahadur Deuba gave in to the demand of senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel that his camp be allotted five ministerial portfolios. 

The party, according to NC leaders, has already decided on the list of ministers and they will take the oath of office on Friday morning.Deuba is said to have agreed to the Poudel camp’s demand of five ministries after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal agreed to let the Congress handle an additional ministry—the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation. In return, the CPN (Maoist Centre) will have the Ministry of Education while the Congress will get the Ministry of Health. 

The NC in total will be handling 14 ministries.In the new distribution, the NC’s establishment side will have seven ministries and the Poudel-led faction will get five. One ministry each will go to the Krishna Prasad Sitaula-led group and the Khum Bahadur Khadka faction. 

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.

Sources said ministries for three NC leaders have already been confirmed. Arjun Narsingh KC, Prakash Sharan Mahat and Bal Krishna Khand will get the Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence respectively. 

Jeevan Bahadur Shahi and Keshav Kumar Budathoki are other two ministers from the establishment side.From the Poudel-led faction, party Treasurer Sita Devi Yadav and leaders Deepak Giri, Hridaya Ram Thani, Nabindra Raj Joshi and Romi Gauchan Thakali are set to join the Cabinet. Gagan Thapa is likely to join the government from Sitaula’s side while Bhimsen Das Pradhan is also in the fray. From the Khadka faction, Shankar Bhandari and Mohan Basnet are also vying for the ministerial berths. 

NC’s plan to send ministers to the government on Wednesday failed to materialized after a meeting of the leaders close to Poudel on Wednesday afternoon threatened to opt out of the Cabinet if the establishment side did not hand them at least five ministries. 

Confirmed names

   Prakash Sharan Mahat    Ministry of Foreign Affairs

   Bal Krishna Khand        Ministry of Defence

   Arjun Narsingh KC        Ministry of Urban Development

Published: 26-08-2016 10:14

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