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Disputes surface in NC over ministerial berths

By Our Reporter
Disputes between the two factions of the Nepali Congress have deepened with the formation of the present government under the CPN-Maoist Centre’s chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal in the backing of NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba.
The NC has been unable to name its ministers to be inducted in the council of ministers even 22 days after the formation of the government. Party president Deuba sent Bimalendra Nidhi to lead the NC as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs in the government. Ramesh Lekhak is another minister from NC appointed with Nidhi. But the party, which has to send 11 other cabinet ministers, has failed to send the ministers as many as 150 leaders have been asking Deuba to make them ministers. As a result, Prime Minister Dahal expanded his cabinet last week inducting five ministers and fours ministers for states from only his party. But no minister from NC has been inducted. The party had the lengthened general convention of the Nepal Students Union as an excuse for the delay in nominating the ministers. But even after the conclusion of the NSU convention the party did not send names of ministers to PM Dahal until Monday.
While scores of leaders close to Deuba have been claiming for the ministerial posts, the faction led by Ram Chandra Poudel has been demanding a share of 40 per cent in the cabinet. Likewise the Krishna Sitaula faction is asking for two ministers. Khum Bahadur Khadak has also been demanding ministers for his men. If Deuba meets their demands, no leader from his camp could become minister.  Also within the Deuba faction, the leaders have been divided as every leader is showing their desire to become minister.  Arjun Narasingh KC who rejected to become minister when he was denied the portfolio of the Home Ministry has started asking Deuba for the post of minister and Deuba has a plan to give him the portfolio of Education Ministry.
If the demands of both the Poudel and Khadka factions are ignored, there is a danger for Deuba of losing majority both in the central committee and the parliament. They may not cooperate with Deuba when the time of forming an NC-led government comes. The rift in NC may also shorten the tenure of the Maoist-NC coalition government.

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