Govt secures position with Gachchhadar in cabinet – Republica

Govt secures position with Gachchhadar in cabinet (Update)

May 8, 2017 21:55 PM
Madan Chaudhary

KATHMANDU, May 8: In an attempt to secure a  majority in parliament, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday inducted Nepal Loktantrik Party (NLP) Chairman Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar into the cabinet. 

Prime Minister Dahal has given Gachchhadar the position of deputy prime minister and the portfolio of local development minister.  Along with Gachchhadar, two others of the same party have also joined the cabinet.

With the Kamal Thapa-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) withdrawing its support from the government last week, the Dahal government was at serious risk of loosing its majority in  parliament just ahead of the local elections. 

 NLP has 17 seats in  parliament  and inducting it in the cabinet gives the government  a slim margin. The government has the support of 314 lawmakers from Nepali Congress (NC), CPN (Maoist Center), NLP and a few  fringe parties in the 593-strong parliament. 

NLP had for long been supporting the ruling coalition without joining the government. The party joined the government on Monday after the  ruling coalition agreed to allocate it three ministries and a post of deputy prime minister.

“The government’s position was  borderline between majority and minority, and the decision to induct NLP into the cabinet will definitely  now leave no space for the opposition to  question its majority,” Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Kumar Khadka told Republica. 

After losing the support of RPP with its 37 lawmakers, the Dahal government found itself in  crisis and had the NLP also decided to withdraw  support, the government was almost certain to have fallen into a minority.

The ruling Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN (Maoist Center) had been offering Gachchhadar a deputy prime ministership to join the government after the RPP withdrew its support. 

Gachchhadar took the oath of office from President Bidya Bhandari on Monday evening  along with two others of his party. Jeetendra Dev has been appointed tourism minister and Gopal Dahit minister for land reform and management.

Though Prime Minister Dahal tried to bring the RPP back into the cabinet again, his efforts failed after Thapa demanded seniorrity in the cabinet hierarchy over Gachchhadar, said sources close to Dahal.

Thapa had been given seniority among the three DPMs before he resigned  last week over the impeachment motion brought against Chief Justice Sushila Karki.. Thapa’s seniority alienated another DPM, Bimalendra Nidhi. 

Dahal approved the resignation of RPP ministers including Thapa only on Monday afternoon after his efforts to bring Thapa back into  the government failed. 

According to Minister Khadka,  Dahal has been planning to see the constitution amendment bill through parliament before he hands over the government  to NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba, in line with an agreement between the two ruling parties. 

NC and Maoist Center have agreed on the handover of government leadership after the first phase  local polls on May 14. 


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