PM Deuba set to expand Cabinet for fifth time todayPrime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is all set to expand his Cabinet for the fifth time on Monday, inducting four ministers from the Pashupati Shumsher Rana-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Prajatantrik).
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is all set to expand his Cabinet for the fifth time on Monday, inducting four ministers from the Pashupati Shumsher Rana-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party (Prajatantrik).
Despite widespread criticism for installing a jumbo Cabinet, PM Deuba is appointing three ministers and a state minister in his team. This will make the Cabinet 54-member—30 ministers and 24 state ministers, the largest ever in Nepal’s history. Back in 1996, Deuba had set a record by forming a 48-member governing team.
Since Article 298 (5) of the constitution, under the transitional provision, does not restrict the number of ministers, Deuba has continued with the expansion for the sake of retaining the NC-Maoist coalition’s alliance with the RPP (P).
Asked why Deuba made this unpopular move, NC leader Prakash Sharan Mahat said the PM wanted to take along the Rana-led party as an ally. On the financial burden the decision adds to, Mahat said the Cabinet would last only until the elections. The first phase of federal and provincial elections is scheduled for November 26 while the second round will be held on December 7.
“The Prime Minister’s Office has informed us that the ministers will take the oath of office and secrecy at 11am on Monday,” said RPP (P) Vice-chairman Bikram Pande. Earlier on Sunday, a meeting of the RPP (P) Parliamentary Party unanimously elected party Vice-chairman Deepak Bohara as its leader and Pande as the deputy leader.
Bohara would be inducted as the minister for science and technology, Pande as the minister for forest and soil conservation and party’s General Secretary Sunil Bahadur Thapa as the minister for industry and lawmaker Resham Lama as state minister for industry.
On the question of the Cabinet expansion violating the election code of conduct, Chief Election Commissioner Ayodhee Prasad Yadav said he would comment only after the swearing-in.
Bohara, Thapa and Pandey have the experience of working as ministers. In fact, Bohara’s current tenure will be the fourth since his first ministerial stint in 2009.
Thapa was the commerce minister in the government of the late Sushil Koirala while Pandey was in PM Dahal’s team. PMO officials said it will be hard for them to manage the offices for new ministries, as Singha Durbar, the government’s secretariat, is short of buildings as a result of the 2015 earthquakes.