KATHMANDU: The Cabinet of the coalition government led by CPN (UML) was expanded on Thursday by eight Ministers; one from the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, six from the Nepali Congress and one from the CPN (ML).
Bijay Kumar Gachchedar of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum has become the Deputy Prime Minister while Nepali Congress leader Sujata Koirala has become the Foreign Minister. Other Congress leaders, Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minendra Rijal, Purna Kumar Sherma, Umakanta Chaudhary, Bal Krishna Khand, and Damber Shrestha of the CPN (ML) also took oath, but as Ministers without portfolios. Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal administered the oath in the presence of President Ram Baran Yadav at the President’s office in Shital Niwas.
Earlier, CPN(UML) leaders Bidya Bhandari and Surendra Pandey had assumed office as Defence and Finance Ministers.
The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists) on Thursday called an all-party meeting and raised the issue of border encroachment in Dang district by the Indian Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) that displaced around 6,000 Nepalis. The meeting agreed to inspect the region and diplomatically address the issue. Maoists had earlier resigned from the government saying they could not accept foreign intervention. At the meeting on Thursday also, senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai reiterated that foreign intervention would not be tolerated.
Various Maoist wings also submitted a memorandum to the Indian Embassy and staged a sit-in outside its building. Meanwhile, CPN(UML) leader Bam Dev Gautam said the government of India should take action against the Indian security force and inform the government of Nepal.
People in some 22 villages in Dang were reportedly chased away by the SSB recently, but on Thursday they agreed to return to their villages after the local administration assured them of security.