Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba announces a 25-member cabinet three months after taking office

KATHMANDUWritten By: Saloni MurarkaUpdated: Oct 08, 2021, 10:08 PM IST

President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered the oath of office to the newcomers, including five from the Nepali Congress, four from the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), five from the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Socialist) and four from the Janata Samajbadi Party. Photograph:(WION)

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Out of the 25 cabinet portfolios, the Nepali Congress-led by Deuba is holding nine seats, including the Prime Minister’s seat and one state minister’s seat. 

As the five-party ruling coalition alliance agreed on a shared cabinet, Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Friday formed a 25-member cabinet after three months of assuming power. 

President Bidya Devi Bhandari announced the appointment of 16 new ministers and two state ministers on the recommendation of Prime Minister Deuba. 

Out of the 25 cabinet portfolios, the Nepali Congress-led by Deuba is holding nine seats, including the Prime Minister’s seat and one state minister’s seat. 

Among the newly appointed ministers from the Nepali Congress are Gyanendra Bahadur Karki as Communication and Information Minister, Minendra Rijal as Defence Minister, Uma Kanta Chaudhary as Water Supply Minister and Gajendra Bahadur Hamal as Minister of Industry, Commerce and Supply. 

Last month, Nepali Congress leader Narayan Khadka was appointed as Foreign Minister, and earlier, Deuba had appointed Bal Krishna Khand as Home Minister. 

Earlier in July, Deuba had also appointed Umesh Shrestha as state minister for Health and Population. Now, Shrestha has been shifted to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers as state minister without portfolio.

Meanwhile, the CPN-Maoist Centre, an alliance partner, holds six cabinet seats after Devendra Poudel was appointed as Education Minister, Shashi Shrestha as Land Reforms Minister, and Maheshwar Gahatraj as Youth and Sports Minister. 

Also, Bodh Maya Kumari Yadav, from the Maoist Centre, has been appointed as state minister for Education, Science and Technology.
Earlier, from the Maoist Centre, which is led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, Pampha Bhusal was appointed as Energy, War and Irrigation Minister, Janardan Sharma as Finance Minister and Krishna Kumar Shrestha as Labour Minister. 

Similarly, the CPN (Unified Socialist), led by Madhav Kumar, Nepal holds four chairs in cabinet and one state health minister. 

Among the newly appointed ministers, CPN-US leader Birodh Khatiwada has been appointed as Health and Population Minister, Rajendra Prasad Shrestha as Federal Affairs and Administration Minister, Prem Bahadur Ale as Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister and Ram Kumari Jhankri as Urban Development Minister. 

While, Bhawani Prasad Khapung was appointed as State Health Minister, 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 Livestock Development from the Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP).

The deal on the cabinet expansion was reached on Tuesday after Deuba held a meeting with other coalition leaders—Prachanda, Madhav Kumar Nepal, and Upendra Yadav. 

Deuba was under scrutiny for not being able to give full shape to the cabinet even after two months in office. There were only six ministers in Deuba’s cabinet. 

As per constitutional provisions, the cabinet can not exceed 25 ministers. 

Deuba was not able to expand the cabinet after coalition partners, the Janata Samajwadi Party, demanded the scrapping of the Political Party Act (Second Amendment) Ordinance first.