Nepal PM ousts Maoist ministers from cabinet
A statement issued by the prime minister’s secretariat said 10 Maoist ministers and 10 state ministers have been relieved of their duties.world Updated: Oct 17, 2017 20:37 IST
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Tuesday relieved all Maoist ministers from their respective duties in yet another episode in the widening crack in the ruling coalition of Nepali Congress and Maoist Centre.
The cabinet reshuffle came ahead of elections to the federal and provincial bodies scheduled on November 26 and December 7.
A statement issued by the prime minister’s secretariat said 10 Maoist ministers and 10 state ministers have been relieved of their duties.
The ruling Nepali Congress and Maoist Centre had formed an alliance in August 2016 and decided to run a rotation-based government until the two elections are held.
Prime Minister Deuba had replaced the ministers of Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal, the fourth largest, in the recently dissolved Parliament.
Earlier on Tuesday, Deuba met Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and informed him he is going to remove the duties of the Maoist ministers if they do not put in their papers.
But Prachanda told Deuba that his party will support the government as the alliance was formed with the aim of holding the crucial elections.
The move comes as the two major communist parties- CPN-UML and CPN(Maoist Centre)- decided to forge an electoral alliance and are inching towards a merger.
Prime Minister Deuba and his Nepali Congress party had slammed the move of the communist parties to join hands, saying the alliance is to establish an authoritarian regime and poses a danger to democracy.
Two top Maoists ministers, Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Janardan Sharma, held separate press conferences on Tuesday and said they will not leave the government until elections are held.
After meeting between Deuba and Prachanda, the Maoist party initially decided to walk out from the government. “All of a sudden, we got information that scheduled dates of the elections are likely to be postponed, so we decided to continue in government because our primary task is to hold the elections on time. We came to know that PM is all set to defer the polls, so we decided to continue in government until polls are held,” said Sharma, who is the home minister.
He told reporters that top party leaders were tipped off by the election commission about the polls’ deferment, an allegation the poll body vehemently denied.
After Maoists decided to stay in government, but still hold the alliance with main opposition party, the premier relieved the duties of Maoist ministers, a Nepali Congress leader told HT.