Sitaula elevated to DPM a day after becoming minister
KATHMANDU, May 6: Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai elevated Krishna Sitaula to the post of deputy prime minister a day after he was appointed minister without portfolio.
The move followed Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala´s call to the prime minister Sunday afternoon asking for Saitaula´s elevation, according to Biswadeep Pandey, the prime minister´s personal secretary.
The prime minister administered the oath of office and secrecy to him on Sunday evening in presence of President Ram Baran Yadav at Shital Niwas.
Sitaula, who is also the party´s general secretary, is one of the key negotiators of the recently signed five-point agreement that paved the way for formation of a consensus government. The lawyer-turned politician was home minister since 2006 April till September 2008.
Sitaula rose to the center of the Nepali politics after he was involved in the negotiations of the 12-point agreement singed between then seven-party alliance and the CPN (M) in New Delhi in 2005. The agreement led the alliance and then underground Maoist party to launch a joint movement against the then King´s direct rule.
He rose to further political prominence after the government designated him as the coordinator of the government talk team that negotiated Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2006 with the Maoists. Since then he continues to be at the center of the politics though he lost in the election of the Constituent Assembly.
In the meantime, sources said that Sitaula is likely to get the portfolio of defense ministry but said all will depend on Monday´s negotiations with the CPN-UML which has shown its reservation to join the government under the leadership of Bhattarai.
"Tomorrow´s meeting with major parties will decide our portfolios," said newly appointed Deputy Prime Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
The major parties are scheduled to hold bilateral and multilateral meetings from Monday morning to discuss the portfolios and contentious issues of the constitution making, according Shrestha.