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Nepal cabinet reshuffled for seventh time, 5 ministries still remain with PM Dahal
Kathmandu: In less than one month since the formation of the new government, the ruling coalition of Nepal has been embroiled in rift and dissatisfaction resulting in partial and incomplete expansion of the cabinet.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda reshuffled the cabinet after weeks of hiatus and was only able to induct 11 ministers which included a state minister. The newly appointed ministers took an oath of office and secrecy from President Ramchandra Paudel at Sheetal Niwas, the President's Office. It's just been about three months since Nepal PM Prachanda had undergone the second round of floor tests and the seventh round of cabinet reshuffle which is yet to give a full cabinet. Supported by 10 parties in the March 20 vote of confidence who have come on board the ruling coalition, Dahal on Friday managed to take 5 parties on board.
"Let me finish the cabinet formation then after this government would be remembered for its record-keeping works," Prime Minister Dahal addressed a closed-door party meeting on Friday a few hours before the oath ceremony.
The latest round of cabinet reshuffle and swearing-in that took place in a closed venue inside the presidential palace saw four leaders from Nepali Congress coming on board the cabinet. The largest party only could fill half of the seats allocated because of the rising dissatisfaction over the division of ministerial posts.
The largest party in the parliament, the Nepali Congress's senior leader Shekhar Koirala and General Secretary Gagan Thapa didn't submit names of ministers from their side.
President of the largest and oldest party, Sher Bahadur Deuba who happened to be the former Prime Minister recommended party vice president Purna Bahadur Khadka to lead the party's team in Dahal's cabinet.
Khadka on Friday took oath as deputy prime minister and minister for Defense; while Prakash Sharan Mahat, the party spokesperson has been appointed as minister for Finance; Ramesh Rijal as minister for industry, commerce and supplies and Sita Gurung as minister for urban development.
Likewise, Shakti Basnet of the CPN (Maoist Centre) led by the PM himself has been appointed the minister for energy, water resource and irrigation.
In the latest round of reshuffle, Dahal reassigned Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Senior Vice Chairman of the CPN-MC as Home Minister who earlier was looking after the ministry of physical infrastructure and transport.
The prime minister himself was overseeing the home ministry after the Supreme Court invalidated the citizenship of the then-minister Rabi Lamichhane.
CPN (Unified Socialist) vice chair Beduram Bhusal has been appointed the minister for agriculture and livestock development and the party's deputy general secretary Prakash Jwala the minister for physical infrastructure and transport.
Similarly, Janata Samajbadi Party federal council chair Ashok Rai has been appointed the minister for education, science and technology.
Likewise, Sharat Singh Bhandari of Loktantrik Samajbadi Party has been appointed the minister for labour, employment and social security. Nagarik Unmukti Party's Chairperson Ranjita Shrestha Chaudhary has been appointed the minister for land management, cooperatives and poverty alleviation.
Similarly, Mahindra Raya Yadav of the Nepal Samajbadi Party has been inducted as the minister for women, children and senior citizens.
Despite filling up the majority of the ministries, PM Dahal still holds the ministry of law, justice and parliamentary affairs; the foreign ministry; the ministry of forest and environment; the ministry of health and population and the ministry of youth and sports.
As a result of the increasing rift in the ruling coalition and rising dissatisfaction, Minister for Water Supply Abdul Khan of Janamat Party on Friday resigned.
With less than an hour left for the formal swearing-in ceremony, Khan submitted his resignation to the Prime Minister vacating another ministry and showing dissatisfaction over the allocation of ministries.
"Many congratulations to Abdul Khan-he has proved by resigning that the Janamat Party is not hungry for any ministerial post. We are the servants of people. If you can serve according to the promises made to the people, you will stay in office, if you cannot do the work and fulfill the promises to the people then there is no reason to hang on," tweeted CK Raut, the Chairman of the Janamat Party after Khan's resignation.
Janamat Party in the first expansion of cabinet had demanded Agriculture Ministry while it was handed over to the Drinking Water ministry. As per Raut, the party had demanded the ministry of the industry but the prime minister didn't address their demand. (ANI)