Prime Minister (PM) Pushpa Kamal Dahal has struggled to expand the Cabinet in lack of agreement among the parties over sharing of ministries.
PM Dahal had been planning to expand the Cabinet immediately after passing the floor test on Monday but he has not been able to do so in lack of agreement among the parties.
All the parties in the House apart from CPN-UML, RPP, and Nepal Workers and Peasants Party had voted in support of the government during the floor test, and all of those who voted for Dahal except Rastriya Janamorcha Party are keen to join the government.
Dahal met Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba on Thursday and CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal on Friday and urged them that the Cabinet needed to be expanded soon. But that looks unlikely.
The Cabinet currently has four ministers and one state minister from Dahal-led CPN (Maoist Center) and a minister from Janamat Party with PM Dahal overseeing 16 ministries after Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), RPP and CPN-UML quit the government.
An NC leader, who has been attending coalition meetings, claimed that the Cabinet would not be expanded for at least a week due to lack of agreement among the parties. “NC has been demanding nine ministries including one out of finance and home ministries as the largest party in the House,” the leader revealed.
But Dahal has been saying that decision should be taken after collective discussion as other parties should also be included in the government. NC may have to make do with seven or eight ministries in that scenario.
NC leaders have been saying that the grand old party should try to get as many ministries as possible, and competent lawmakers should be given opportunity.
Deuba is trying to send Vice-president Purna Bahadur Khadka, who has already announced that he would never again become a minister, to lead the NC contingent. Prakash Man Singh may get the chance to lead the NC ministers if Khadka refuses to become minister.
NC has created standards for ministers saying they should represent all seven provinces and be inclusive.
Maoist Center wants to increase the number of its full ministers from the current four and keep the Home Ministry if NC gets the Finance Ministry. But Unified Socialist, that has just 10 House of Representatives (HoR) members, has also been demanding three ministries including the Home Ministry.
Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP), that had been offered two ministries in the previous coalition also including UML but had not joined the government, is also demanding three ministries.
Janamat, Loktantrik Samajwadi Party (LSP) and Nagarik Unmukti Party have also been demanding at least two ministries.