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Maoists join expanded Nepal cabinet

Nepal Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal expanded his cabinet for the second time on Friday with inclusion of four Maoist leaders. Utpal Parashar reports.

world Updated: Mar 04, 2011 23:42 IST
Utpal Parashar

Nepal Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal expanded his cabinet for the second time on Friday with inclusion of four Maoist leaders.

The four leaders from Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) were administered oath of office by Khanal at a brief function held at Shital Niwas, the official residence of President Ram Baran Yadav.

The Maoist ministers will be led by standing committee member Krishna Bahadur Mahra, the new Deputy Prime Minister who will also head the information and communication ministry.

Other Maoist ministers in the Khanal cabinet are Top Bahadur Raymajhi (Physical Planning and Works), Barshaman Pun (Peace and Reconstruction) and Khadga Bahadur Biswokorma (Tourism).

"The party's standing committee unanimously approved these four names today...," said Maoist spokesperson Dinanath Sharma.

The home ministry, the main bone of contention between the coalition partners will remain with Khanal for the time being. Khanal who was sworn in on February 6 was functioning with just three ministers till now due to differences within his party and with UCPN (M) over a secret deal for power he signed with Dahal.