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Congress obstructs house meeting again

Gorkha Post

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KATHMANDU — The main opposition party Nepali Congress on Monday obstructed the Parliament meeting for the third consecutive day, demanding immediate release of house rebuilding grant assistance to the quake victims in lump sum.

The biggest force in the parliament has decided to obstruct the parliament meeting unless the government expressed its commitment to release a grant of Rs 200,000 in a lump sum to each earthquake-hit family.

As soon as the meeting began today, NC lawmakers stood up from their respective seats in protest. Then, upon receiving time from the Speaker Onsari Gharti, NC lawmaker Ram Sharan Mahat said they were forced to obstruct the meeting as the government failed to address concerns of people.

After Mahat’s speech, the lawmakers again stood up from their seats, forcing the Speaker to postpone the meeting.

The party has sought the government’s commitment in parliament to release the grant assistance in lump sum, but the government has been insisting that the grant can’t be released as demanded by the opposition.

“We will continue our obstruction until he promises to release the house reconstruction grant in lump sum because we are not here just to listen to the prime minister’s speech,” NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi said after the meeting.

After NC lawmakers continued their obstruction, the speaker adjourned the House meeting for an hour at first and then for half an hour. But she deferred the parliament till 3:PM after NC lawmakers continued their protest.

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New govt likely to have 18 ministers

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KATHMANDU — The new government is likely to have 15 to 18 ministries in total as Prime mInister KP Sharma Oli is preparing to give his cabinet a full shape.

As per discussion between Prime Minister Oli and CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the government may include Madhes-based parties to make the government inclusive and have two-thirds majority in the Parliament.

According to Article 76 (9) of the constitution, the number of ministers cannot exceed 25 in the federal Cabinet. With the new constitution limiting the size of Council of Ministers to 25, the new governing team could be limited to 18 members including three state ministers. A formal decision on the matter is yet to be taken.

Speaking at a program organised in Kathmandu on Tuesday, UML leader Pradeep said: “Cabinet expansion is likely to take place on Wednesday. A few Maoist ministers will be joining the Oli government.”

“Our taskforce has recommended that the government form a 15-member Cabinet. Some of the ministries will be integrated and others scrapped.”

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Ishwor Pokhrel, Pradeep Gyawali, Rabindra Adhikari, Raghubir Mahaseth, Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and Padma Aryal are the probable ministerial candidates from the UML.

Like3wise, Maoist chair Dahal and senior CPN-MC leaders Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Ram Bahadur Thapa have been given the responsibility of selecting ministers from their party.

Probable ministerial candidates from the Maoist Centre include Ram Bahadur Thapa, Matrika Yadav, Pampha Bhusal, Devendra Poudel, Lekhraj Bhatta, Chakrapani Khanal, Pun, Girirajmani Pokhrel and Dev Gurung, according to the sources.

Thapa may lead the CPN-MC in the government as deputy prime minister. Yadav is being considered for appointment since he represents Madhes, Bhusal as a woman while Poudel is one of the leaders who joined the party lately. Poudel had left the Baburam Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Party to join the Maoist Centre just ahead of unification talks with the UML.

Leaders involved in discussions said the Maoist Centre could appoint up to eight ministers if the Cabinet size does not exceed 18.

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