Discontent brews in new ruling coalition in KoshiThe Unified Socialist skipped Sunday’s swearing-in as its recommendation for minister was ignored by chief minister.
In less than four days of new government formation in Koshi Province, discontent has started brewing in the ruling coalition.
CPN (Unified Socialist), a coalition partner, has expressed its dissatisfaction over the Cabinet expansion.
Unified Socialist leader Rajendra Kumar Rai accused the chief minister of allocating the ministerial berths, unilaterally. He said an environment of consensus and cooperation within the alliance has been foiled and the party will not support the chief minister in the floor test “if he moves ahead unilaterally”.
The Unified Socialist did not take part in the oath-taking ceremony. It is said the party is dissatisfied after the chief minister refused to appoint its assembly member Khinu Langwa Limbu of Ilam as the minister for physical infrastructure and development.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thapa on Sunday expanded his Cabinet, inducting two ministers from the CPN (Maoist Centre) and one from the Nepali Congress.
Jeevan Acharya of the Maoist Centre has been appointed the minister for economic affairs and planning, while portfolios have not been assigned to Rajendra Karki of the Maoist Centre and Ram Kumar Khatri of the Nepali Congress.
Narayan Bahadur Magar, a Maoist lawmaker in the Koshi provincial assembly, said while expanding the Cabinet, the proportional inclusion principle (which the party claims as the bedrock principle), was completely ignored. “The votes of the people from my region have not got justice. I will discuss and take suggestions from the public and well wishers. I am also ready to resign, if the situation demands it,” Magar told the Post.
A provincial assembly meeting of the party held on Saturday had decided to send Magar from Udayapur as a minister. However, Rajendra Karki of the Maoist Centre has been appointed as a minister without portfolio in his place.
The induction of Acharya, the son-in-law of prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, has also led to disenchantment within the Maoist Centre. According to the provincial leaders of the party, dissatisfaction has surfaced in the party, as Acharya has been given charge of a strong ministry. “Pressure and influence dominated the Cabinet expansion. Here, if a leader is closely related to the prime minister, who else can stop them becoming a minister?” said a provincial leader of the Maoist Centre, requesting anonymity.
A dispute had erupted in the Maoist Centre parliamentary party after Acharya expressed his desire to become a minister again. Acharya had served as the minister for tourism, forest and environment for four months in the earlier Hikmat Kumar Karki-led government.
After the disagreement escalated, the party assigned the responsibility to finalise names for ministerial berths to provincial assembly leader Indra Bahadur Angbo, province in-charge Ram Karki and province chapter chair Harka Bahadur Nembang.
Koshi politics has been in a quagmire of late.
On Thursday, the provincial head Khapung appointed Thapa as the chief minister as per Article 168(2) of the constitution, after he laid claim to lead a new majority government with the signatures of 46 lawmakers and Speaker Baburam Gautam.
Meanwhile, hearing on a writ petition filed by the CPN-UML in the Supreme Court against the government formation has been slated for today.
The UML had filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court on Friday after the ruling alliance showed the majority to form the government by including the signature of the assembly speaker.