Deuba gives full shape to his government, three months after assuming officeFive new ministers from Congress, three from the Maoist Centre and four each from CPN (Unified Socialist) and Janata Samajbadi inducted on Friday.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Friday expanded his Cabinet, almost three months after he assumed office, by appointing 16 new ministers and two state ministers.
The Office of the President has released a statement about the cabinet expansion.
President Bidya Devi Bhandari has expanded the Cabinet as per the recommendation of the prime minister under Article 76 and its sub-article (9) and Article 78 and its sub-article (1), a statement issued by the Office of the President said.
Five ministers were appointed from the Nepali Congress, three from the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), four ministers each from the CPN (Unified Socialist) and the Janata Samajbadi Party. The CPN (Unified Socialist) and CPN (Maoist Centre) have also got one each state minister.
The Nepali Congress already had three ministers and the Maoist Centre two.
Friday’s appointments were possible after ruling coalition partners reached a power-sharing deal.
The new appointees from Congress are Minendra Rijal (Defence), Dilendra Prasad Badu (Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs), Uma Kanta Chaudhari (Water Supply); Uma Regmi (Women, Children and Senior Citizens) and Gajendra Hamal (Industry, Commerce and Supplies).
Badu will replace Law Minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, who is also the government’s spokesperson. Karki has been shifted to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology.
Hamal’s name had courted controversy over allegations that he was picked from the quota of Chief Justice Cholendra Shumsher Rana. Since Hamal is not a member of the Federal Parliament, he can be minister only for six months.
Similarly, Devendra Poudel, Shashi Shrestha and Maheshwor Gahatraj have been appointed ministers for Education, Science and Technology; Land Reforms, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation and Youth and Sports respectively, from the Maoist Centre. Bodh Maya Kumari Yadav has been appointed as state minister for Education, Science and Technology.
The CPN (Unified Socialist)’s Birodh Khatiwada, Ram Kumari Jhakri, Krishna Kumar Shrestha and Prem Ale have been appointed ministers for Health and Population; Urban Development; Labour, Employment and Social Security and Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. Bhawani Khapung has been appointed as state minister for Health and Population.
Likewise, Rajendra Shrestha, Renu Yadav, Ram Sahay Prasad Yadav and Mahendra Raya Yadav have been given the ministries of Federal Affairs and Local Development; Physical Infrastructure and Transport; Forest and Environment and Agriculture and Livestocks Development from the Janata Samajbadi Party.
Deuba has been facing widespread criticism for failing to expand his Council of Ministers for three months since his appointment on July 13 as per a Supreme Court’s order on July 12 which also ousted KP Sharma Oli as prime minister and restored the House of Representatives, which was dissolved by Oli on May 21.
After assuming office on July 13, Deuba had appointed four ministers–two each from his Nepali Congress and the Maoist Centre.
Balkrishna Khand and Gyanendra Bahadur Karki of the Congress were
appointed ministers for Home and Law, respectively. Similarly, Janardan Sharma and Pampha Bhusal from the Maoist Centre were given the ministries of Finance and Energy.
On July 25, Deuba appointed Umesh Shrestha as state minister for health. Shrestha has been shifted to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers as state minister without portfolio.On September 22, Narayan Khadka of the Congress was appointed foreign minister.