KATHMANDU, May 19: Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML have decided not to send additional ministers to the cabinet until a new government led by NC is formed. As per the recent deal reached among three major parties, a national consensus government would be formed under the leadership of NC before May 27-- the deadline to promulgate the new constitution.
Though both the NC and the UML had been allocated four ministries each in the new cabinet, the two parties decided not to send additional ministers and divide the portfolios given to them among the two ministers representing their parties in the government, according to top leaders.
While the NC sent Krishna Prasad Sitaula, who holds deputy prime minister’s portfolio, and Surya Man Gurung to the cabinet, the UML sent Ishwor Pokharel, also a deputy prime minister, and Radha Gyawali as minister.
A meeting of the top leaders of three major parties held on Thursday had decided to allocate foreign, agriculture development, energy and youth and sports ministries to the UML. The NC, was given defense, local development and federal affairs, general administration and law ministries.
Situala will head Defence and Law ministries and Gurung has been given the responsibility of Local Development and Federal Affairs and General Administration, according to Deputy Prime Minister Narayankaji Shrestha.
Similarly, Deputy PM Pokharel will also hold Foreign Ministry, Youth and Sports Ministry and Energy Ministry while Gyawali was given Agriculture Development Ministry.
The PM has also allocated ministries to Maoist ministers according to which Barsha Man Pun will head Finance Ministry, Dina Nath Sharma Education, Post Bahadur Bogati Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation and Top Bahadur Rayamajhi Peace and Reconstruction ministry.
The PM has kept Urban Development Ministry to himself. While Deputy Prime Minister Shrestha has not taken any ministry.
Others who were given responsibilities include Anil Kumar Jha from Sanghiya Sadbhawana Party (Industry), Chandra Dev Joshi from CPN (Samyukta) (Land Reforms), Eknath Dhakal from Nepal Family Party (Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation), Parshuram Khapung from Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Commerce and Supply) and Keshav Man Shakya from Nepa Rastriya Party (Environment) They were sworn-in on Wednesday, a day after the three-parties reached an agreement on all contentious issues of new constitution.
Sources close to the prime minister said Bhattarai is also scheduled to induct three other cabinet members from fringe parties--Badri Neupane (Chure Bhawar Ekta Samaj), Yadubansha Jha (CPN-ML (Socialist) and Krishna Belbase from CPN-ML on Saturday.
With the inclusion of three new ministers on Saturday, the Baburam Bhattarai-led cabinet will have 22 members including four deputy prime ministers.
Likewise, five others -- Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar (Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister), Hridayesh Tripathi (Minister for Physical Planning and Works), Mahendra Yadav (Minister for Irrigation), Rajendra Mahato (Minister for Health) and Raj Kishor Yadav (Minister for Information and Communications)--from United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) were also appointed as cabinet members on the same day. All the UDMF ministers retain their previous portfolios.