Deuba may not induct NC ministers until June 28 polls

  • Tells party leaders to go to villages for elections
- Post Report, Kathmandu
NC leaders say exercise to induct ministers now may affect party’s performance in the elections

Jun 9, 2017-Prime Minister and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba, who is caught in internal power-sharing tangle with factions led by two senior leaders demanding “respectable shares in the Cabinet”, may not induct any ministers from his party until the second phase of elections scheduled for June 28.

Pressure started to build on Deuba over ministerial portfolios even before he was sworn in as the prime minister on Wednesday. 

“I urge you all to go to villages for the elections,” Deuba said on Thursday at a party programme in Sanepa. “We have decided to expand the Cabinet only after second phase of elections.”

Deuba is learnt to have already communicated the message to his party colleagues and senior leaders, including Ram Chandra Poudel and Shashank Koirala.

Deuba’s message, however, is likely to be applicable to his own party only, as he will have to induct ministers from the key coalition partner, the CPN (Maoist Centre) and other parties, including the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, which voted in favour him during the prime ministerial election on Tuesday, according to some leaders. 

The Poudel-led faction is learnt to have demanded 40 percent share in the Cabinet, while another group led by Krishna Prasad Sitaula is saying “it won’t settle for less”.

A senior NC leader said if the party gets into the exercise of inducting ministers into the government at this time, it could affect the party’s performance during the second phase of elections. 

In the first phase of elections held on May 14, the NC failed to match the CPN-UML and Congress leaders say this was because of “unfair way of candidate selection”, which led to discontentment within the party.

Deuba’s Cabinet currently has three ministers from the NC, as many from the Maoist Centre and one from Nepal Loktantrik Forum. All the three NC ministers are Deuba loyalists.

As per an understanding between the NC and the Maoist Centre on power-sharing, the parties are to split 20 ministerial berths--11 to the prime minister’s party and nine to the key coalition partner. 

Out of seven ministries left for the NC, Deuba is planning to allocate three to the Poudel faction and one to the Sitaula camp. The remaining two he will appoint at his discretion, a leader said. 

Deuba and Poudel are said to be in talks on internal power-sharing and the party president is likely to offer three ministerial berths to the Poudel faction. 

If the Ministry of Energy is given to the Maoist Centre, the NC is likely to keep the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and Ministry of Information and Communications. 

Published: 09-06-2017 08:05

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