Bigger Cabinet likely tomorrow

  • UML Chairman and PM Oli, top Maoist leaders tasked with picking ministerial candidates
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Feb 24, 2018-

Communist allies CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) have entrusted party leader KP Sharma Oli and a three-member team led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal with picking leaders for appointment as ministers. Prime Minister Oli is expected to expand his Cabinet on Sunday.

With the left alliance poised to run government for a full five years, there are fairly large numbers of leaders aspiring to serve as ministers in the two parties. A Standing Committee meeting of the UML, which leads the government, has entrusted PM Oli with deciding on the ministerial candidates while the CPN-Maoist Centre gave the responsibility to three top leaders on Thursday.

The parties, which have signed a deal on unification, have yet to name the candidates. “It’s too late today. The new ministers will be inducted on Sunday,” said Minister Lalbabu Pandit. The UML Standing Committee (SC), which met in Baluwatar on Friday morning, failed to agree on the names. As the merger process gains momentum, the meeting also decided to stop conferences of the party’s sister wings—even those already scheduled. “However, distribution of party membership and political training will continue,” said UML leader Surendra Pandey.

According to Pandey, the SC authorised PM Oli to hold talks with the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal and the Rastriya Janata Party, Nepal for taking them on board the government. 

PM Oli is said to have informed the meeting that he and Maoist Centre chief Dahal had agreed not to have a deputy prime minister in the Cabinet. With no DPMs, the ministers will be powerful, said a UML leader.

The two leaders on Thursday decided to have only 18 ministries including the PM’s Office in the federal government. Eleven ministries would be led by UML members and seven by Maoist leaders. However, PM Oli had told the meeting that the two parties were yet to specify the portfolios.

At a meeting of the Maoist Centre held at Dahal’s residence in Khumaltar on Thursday evening, major leaders decided to task senior leaders Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Ram Bahadur Thapa besides Dahal with picking the party’s ministerial candidates. Shrestha said the three leaders would meet on Saturday morning.

Krishna Bahadur Mahara has been lobbying for the post of Speaker of the House of Representatives but his claim has been contested by Girirajmani Pokhrel, 

Dev Gurung and Agni Sapkota, who argue that Mahara should not get a chance again as he has been a minister for long.

Maoist sources said Thapa will lead the party in the government even as his ministry has yet to be decided. Former finance minister Barshaman Pun has staked his claim to the Home Ministry, a position wanted also by former home minister Janardan Sharma.

 

 

Power points

l Oli may not appoint any deputy PM

l PM to hold talks with SSF-N and RJP-N for taking them on board

l Thapa may lead Maoist Centre in government

 

Published: 24-02-2018 07:27

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