Newly appointed Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Gajendra Hamal will resign after widespread criticism over appointment of the brother of Chief Justice (CJ) Cholendra Shumsher Rana's wife despite not being a federal lawmaker.
He is preparing to submit resignation meeting Prime Minister (PM) Sher Bahadur Deuba on Sunday. He said he will listen to his conscience and resign to avoid controversy.
Deuba appointed Hamal, who is not even a federal lawmaker, as minister during the Cabinet expansion on Friday ahead of many aspiring lawmakers from Deuba's party Nepali Congress (NC).
Hamal was made minister as per the provision in the Constitution that allows any person who is not federal lawmaker to become minister for six months.
CJ Rana had also reportedly recommended Deepak Timalsina, who is well-connected to the Supreme Court (SC), as a minister along with Hamal but Deuba did not induct Timalsina in the Cabinet following widespread criticism.
Setopati had first reported that Deuba had proposed coalition partners that two ministries should be given to the judiciary.
Hamal has good connection with both Deuba and Rana. Hamal is elder brother of the first wife of Rana, according to a family source of Hamal. Rana married again after his first wife died.
Hamal, who was Nepali Congress (NC) president of Banke over two decades back, had used his relation with Deuba to get Rana promoted to the SC from the then Appellate Court. Rana apparently wanted to pay his brother-in-law back now.
Hamal is no longer active in politics but his younger brother Surendra Hamal is provincial assembly member in Lumbini from NC.
Deuba had a very close friendship with Bhairaja Hamal, elder brother of Gajendra and Surendra, according to a senior NC leader from Banke. "Bhairaja died at the age of 42. His brothers joined politics only after that," added the leader.
Setopati on Sunday reported that CJ Rana had demanded two ministries or at least one during Cabinet expansion. Three leaders of separate parties in the ruling coalition corroborated that Rana demanded his confidant Deepak Timalsina be made minister as per the provision in the Constitution that allows any person who is not federal lawmaker to become minister for six months.
CJ Rana has also been accused of appointing his confidants in constitutional bodies in connivance with the then prime minister KP Sharma Oli last year after Oli brought an ordinance related to the Constitutional Council to make appointments at the vacant positions in constitutional bodies.
A CPN-UML leader claimed that Rana had sought share in the Cabinet even with Oli. "CJ had demanded a minister and two ambassadors then. Oli told him that he is ready to give any position in the judiciary but not in the executive organ. Rana was furious with Oli after that," the leader confided.
The leader added that Rana wanted to make Krishna Prasad Uprety, husband of his elder sister, ambassador then. He is taking initiative to make Uprety, who is promoter of KP cement in Dhading envoy, even now.
Another leader claimed that Deuba is almost ready to make Uprety envoy to South Korea.