Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Thursday expanded his cabinet for the second time in a week amid the ongoing political crisis in the country and widespread criticism. Oli is heading a minority government after failing to get a vote of confidence in the House last month.
According to the President’s Office, after the induction of seven new cabinet ministers and a minister of state, the cabinet now has 25 members. According to the MyRepublica news website, Oli has given the charge of the Home Ministry to his close Khagraj officer. The officer was earlier the health minister in the Sushil Koirala-led government.
The post of Home Minister had become vacant when the Supreme Court of the country on May 20 annulled the appointment of seven new ministers, including Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, saying they were not MPs. A day later, Oli dissolved the House of Representatives. Thapa joined the CPN-UML after the dissolution of the erstwhile Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
Other faces made ministers include Rajkishore Yadav (industry, commerce and supplies minister) and Nainkala Thapa (communication and information technology minister) from the Janata Samajwadi Party. Thapa is the wife of the former Home Minister. Oli has made Jwala Kumari Shah as Agriculture Minister, Narad Muni Rana as Forest Minister, Ganesh Kumar Pahari as General Administration Minister and Mohan Bania (no ministry has been given yet).
These people have been given the status of Cabinet Minister and Asha Kumari BK has been made Minister of State for Forest and Environment. Oli has expanded his cabinet for the second time in a week amid the ongoing political crisis in the country and widespread criticism.
Oli, 69, last Friday expanded his cabinet to include eight cabinet ministers and two new ministers of state in a move to consolidate his grip on power and strengthen ties with India. In this, preference was given to the Janta Samajwadi Party based on Madhesis.
Oli had appointed three deputy prime ministers as part of the reshuffle, two of whom are from the Madhesi community. He has given Urban Development Ministry to senior Janata Samajwadi Party leader Rajendra Mahto appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, while Raghuveer Mahaseth of CPN-UML appointed as Deputy Prime Minister has been given the Ministry of External Affairs.
The third Deputy Prime Minister Vishnu Paudyal has got the charge of the Finance Ministry. He is from UML party. The Madhesi parties of Nepal claim to represent the Madhesis who live in the Terai region. This community has strong cultural and family ties with India.
Nepal was plunged into a political crisis on 20 December last year due to a power struggle within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) when President Bidya Devi Bhandari dissolved the 275-member House of Representatives on April 30 and May 10 on the recommendation of Prime Minister Oli Mid-term elections were announced.
The country’s Supreme Court had in February restored the dissolved House of Representatives, which was a setback for Oli. But Oli reiterated his move to recommend to the President the dissolution of the House of Representatives, saying some of his party leaders were trying to form a “parallel government”.
The President dissolved the House of Representatives on 22 May for the second time within five months on the recommendation of the Prime Minister and announced mid-term elections on 12 and 19 November. The matter is again in the Supreme Court.