Nepal PM expands cabinet while Maoists raise war cry
Kathmandu: As the opposition Maoist party staged a show of strength in the capital on Friday, unveiling nearly four dozen demands and warning to unleash a `storm` if not heeded, the coalition government chose to ignore the show and instead inducted two more new ministers.
The number of ministers went up to 44 with the regional Terai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP) getting two more berths.
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal administered the oath of office to Govinda Chaudhary as state education minister and Chandra Chaudhary as assistant sports minister.
Only nine days ago, Nepal had expanded his cabinet, adding nine more ministers, all of them from the Terai parties.
While the ministers were taking oath, the Maoists called a mass meeting in the heart of the capital, addressed by their leader and former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.
Prachanda, whose party had been saying that the Nepal government would not survive beyond three months, Friday called the ruling alliance illegal and demanded it rectify the "unconstitutional" step taken by President Ram Baran Yadav.
The Maoist government fell in May after it tried to fire the chief of the army, Gen Rookmangud Katawal. The general was reinstated by the president.
The furious guerrilla party has since then kept parliament under siege and has been staging anti-government protests in the capital to pressure the prime minister into making concessions.
However, so far, the Nepal government has shown no sign of relenting.
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