KATHMANDU, July 25: The delayed expansion of the cabinet has been deferred yet again following a dispute between Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and rival leader Ram Chandra Paudel over the sharing of ministerial portfolios.
Individuals familiar with internal disputes within the ruling Nepali Congress (NC) said the cabinet expansion plan was deferred for Wednesday after the Paudel faction demanded at least five ministerial portfolios against a previous understanding on four portfolios. The Paudel faction has maintained that they would not send even a single minister into the cabinet if they are denied five portfolios.
Those close to Paudel said their faction had submitted the names of Kamala Pant, Sarita Prasain, Bal Bahadur KC, Ram Krishna Yadav and Rajan KC for appointment as cabinet ministers. Deuba, likewise, had finalized the names of Meen Bishwokarma, Ambika Basnet, Bharat Shah and Arjun Joshi.
The Paudel faction has maintained that they should be allocated at least 40 percent of the ministerial portfolios, given that they secured over 40 percent of vote at the party's general convention. NC is scheduled to get at least 13 ministerial portfolios as per the understanding reached with the main coalition partner CPN (Maoist Center).
Of the 13 ministerial portfolios allocated to NC, Deuba has promised one ministry each to the Krishna Sitaula and Khum Bahadur Khadka factions. He has already appointed three ministers -- Gyanendra Bahadur Karki (Finance), Gopal Man Shrestha (Education) and Farmullaha Mansoor (Labor)--from his faction.
Maoist Center, likewise, has already sent Krishna Bahadur Mahara (Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign), Janardan Sharma (Home) and Prabhu Shah (Urban) into the cabinet. Similarly, Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar of Nepal Loktantrik Forum (NLF) has been appointed deputy prime minister and minister for local development.