Shrestha’s dream of becoming minister in coalition government shattered

KATHMANDU: CPN-Maoist Centre leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha had lost House of Representatives (HoR) election to the then coordinator of Naya Shakti Party Babu Ram Bhattarai from Gorkha Constituency 2 in 2017.

Shrestha, who had lost the House of Representatives election, was elected as a member the National Assembly in 2019. Now, he wants to be a part of the coalition government.

According to a source, Shrestha has been expressing desire to be foreign minister along with deputy prime minister. The constitutional provision, however, does not allow him to be a minister.

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba had already told CPN-Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal that it would be against the spirit of the constitution to appoint someone defeated in the elections as a minister.

Shrestha, however, has been piling pressure on Maoist supremo Dahal to incorporate him in the government. A few days back, Dahal had said that he was under pressure to nominate ministers from his party.

Article 78 (4) of the constitution stipulates that a person who had lost the HoR election could not become a minister in the same tenure of the HoR.

According to Article 78 (1) of the constitution, the President cannot appoint a person who is not a member of the Federal Parliament as a minister on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

Earlier, Shrestha had opined that if Article 78 (1) bars him from becoming a minister than he should be appointed as minister under another provision, a Maoist source claimed.

Prime Minister Deuba, however, is not in support of incorporating him in the Cabinet, saying that it would ensue conflict in the alliance.

Earlier, the same article had become an obstacle when KP Sharma Oli tried to incorporate CPN-UML Vice Chairman Bam Dev Gautam in his government.

A Nepali Congress leader close to the Prime Minister said that Dahal had once asked Prime Minister Deuba that if he could appoint Shrestha as a minister in the incumbent government. In response, Prime Minister Deuba said that he would not take any decision against Constitution, the source further said.

In addition to that, a source at Baluwatar said that Dahal had earlier held a discussion with the Prime Minister to find ways to bar Shrestha from becoming the minister.

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