Kathmandu [Nepal], Sept 12 : Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba clarified on Monday that the recent cabinet expansion will not be withdrawn despite Election Commission's (EC) objection over the move.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the cabinet expansion by Prime Minister Deuba on Tuesday, the Election Commission of Nepal said it was against the election code of conduct.

"Election Commission has said nothing about withdrawing the expansion," the Kathmandu Post quoted Deuba as saying.

Dismissing the claims of violating election code of conduct, he claimed the government had taken approval from the EC before inducting ministers as it was put in a difficult situation.

Prime Minister Deuba, who is leading the biggest cabinet in the country's history, also said the size of the incumbent cabinet may be expanded further despite his government facing severe criticisms over the large size of his cabinet.

"Despite the size, many are still vying for ministerial berths. Cabinet may be expanded further if needs be," Deuba responded to questioned about the criticisms on the size of his Cabinet during his visit to Biratnagar to take part in election programmes in province 2.

Earlier, the EC said that the government violated the Code of Conduct by inducting three ministers and one state minister.

"The commission on August 31 had given seven point directions to Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. In the point one of given directions 'Any of the bodies coming under the ownership of Government of Nepal or Government Treasury which will receive funds and budget or any services and facilities from the Government of Nepal will not have any political appointment' was stated but the government on September 11, 2017 inducted three ministers and one state minister going against the direction of the Election Commission which has drawn the attention of the commission," the EC said in a statement.

With the induction of three new ministers Deepak Bohara as Minister for Science and Technology, Bikram Pandey as Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation and Sunil Bahadur Thapa as Minister for Industry and one state minister, the cabinet now has 54 members, making it the biggest cabinet in Nepal's history.

(Posted on 12 September 2017, 1675186559 18O232O179O5)