UML, UCPN (M) leaders eye plum ministries; Cabinet still incompleteIntra-party dispute inside two major coalition partners— CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist)— over nomination of ministers has emerged as the main hurdle delaying the Cabinet expansion.
Intra-party dispute inside two major coalition partners— CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist)— over nomination of ministers has emerged as the main hurdle delaying the Cabinet expansion.
A Standing Committee meeting of the senior coalition, UML, ended inclusively on Thursday. Although Prime Minister and UML Chairman KP Oli has decided to include Bisnhu Poudel, Bhim Rawal and Sherdhan Rai in the Cabinet, the dispute over whether Rawal or Poudel should be handed over deputy prime minister’s portfolio has delayed the Cabinet expansion. PM Oli wants to appoint Poudel as finance minister.
Meanwhile, UML leaders close to Madhav Kumar Nepal have opposed Oli’s “monopoly” while picking Cabinet members. Displeased by the appointments of Agni Kharel, Satya Narayan Mandal and Som Prasad Pandey in the Cabinet, the UML leaders close to Nepal have demanded that certain criteria should be fixed while appointing the ministers from the party.
The UML second-rung leaders have also suggested setting up guidelines for ministerial appointments, arguing that most of the party ministers in the Sushil Koirala-led government defamed the party.
Meanwhile, UML Deputy General Secretary Ghanshyam Bhusal, Secretary Prithivi Subba Gurung and leader Gokarna Bista, among others, have proposed PM Oli to pick ministers, considering the proposed seven-provinces, caste and gender.
“The party may lose its strength at the ground if the concerns related with geography, caste, religion and gender are not addressed while picking minsters,” said Subba.
Concerned with the fellow leaders’ suggestions PM Oli has assured formulating criteria for appointing ministers and reviewing the nominees in a party meeting before making the final decision.
Minister nomination process has also caused dispute inside UCPN (Maoist), though the party in principle has decided to send a team-led by leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara in the government.
Maoists spokesperson Dina Nath Sharma said there are several contenders for the ministerial portfolios and the party leadership is under pressure to make the list of nominees more inclusive.
Meanwhile, some leaders close to Maoists Chairman Dahal, including Shakti Basnet, Janardhan Sharma, Agni Sapkota and Nanda Kishor Pun, are demanding ministerial positions.
Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, a leader close to former senior party leader Baburam Bhattarai, is also pressing Dahal to nominate him as either home minister or local development minister.