Oli may appoint ministers today

Kathmandu

Mar 16, 2018-A month after being appointed the prime minister, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli is preparing to give the Cabinet its complete shape on Friday afternoon. PM’s Chief Political Advisor Bishnu Rimal confirmed the preparations. “The government is in touch with the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal but the PM is not in a position to wait for them if they refuse to join,” said Rimal, adding that new ministers would be appointed after the deputy Speaker election if everything went as planned.

PM Oli has been consulting with CPN (Maoist Centre) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal for the past three days for Cabinet expansion by inducting members from the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum, Nepal and the RJP-N. Cabinet expansion was delayed as the parties were busy with Speaker and presidential elections. The Maoist Centre has almost finalised the names of ministers. According to party sources, Barsaman Pun, Shakti Basnet or Janardan Sharma, Bina Magar and Girirajmani Pokhrel are the probable candidates.

From the party, senior leader Ram Bahadur Thapa was appointed the home minister and Matrika Yadav minister for industry, commerce and supplies on February 26. From the UML, General Secretary Ishwor Pokhrel was inducted as the defence minister and Yubaraj Khatiwada as finance minister the same day. Along with PM Oli, Lalbabu Pandit and Tham Maya Thapa were appointed ministers on February 15.

SSF-N leaders, who await the ruling parties’ call to discuss Cabinet expansion, held a political training in Dhulikhel. “We decided a week ago to join the government but the ruling parties have not contacted us for discussion,” SSF-N Co-chair Rajendra Shrestha said.

Maoist Centre leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha said left alliance leaders will address SSF-N’s issues late Thursday evening. His party would finalise its list of ministers on Friday morning. The left alliance and the SSF-N would sign a deal agreeing in principle to amend the constitution.

The six-member RJP-N presidium has entrusted coordinator Mahantha Thakur with deciding whether to join the government. Thakur said the government has yet to contact him. He expressed his displeasure that the government had not released RJP-N leaders and cadres languishing in different jails on political charges and that there was no environment for Resham Chaudhary to take oath as a member of federal parliament. The UML Standing Committee has authorised PM Oli to decide ministers from the party. Party Secretary Pradeep Gyawali and leaders Rabindra Adhikari and Raghubir Mahaseth are said to be among the major contenders.

The PM is having a tough time allotting the portfolios amid a large number of aspirants when the Cabinet size has been brought down to 18. The Cabinet currently has seven members including the PM. Oli will appoint 11 new ministers—four from the Maoist Centre, two from the SSF-N and the rest from the UML. If the RJP-N decides to join in, it could get two ministries.

 

On the list

Maoist Centre

- Barsaman Pun

- Shakti Basnet or Janardan Sharma

- Bina Magar

- Girirajmani Pokhrel

CPN-UML

- Pradeep Gyawali

- Rabindra Adhikari

- Raghubir Mahaseth

 

Published: 16-03-2018 11:28

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