Kathmandu: Nepal Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai on Thursday expanded his cabinet, including senior Madhesi party leader Sharad Singh Bhandari as the Defence Minister.
Bhattarai administered oath of office and secrecy to six new ministers, including two from his UCPN-Maoist party and four from an alliance of Madhesi parties whose support is critical to the survival of the coalition led by the former
President Dr Ram Baran Yadav was also present at the grand function held at Rastrapati Bhawan.
Bhandari, the leader of the Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-Democratic) has been appointed as Defence Minister in the 21-member cabinet.
Maoists leaders Lekh Raj Bhatta was appointed as Minister for Commerce while Gopal Kiranti takes charge of the Minister for Federalism and Constituent Assembly.
Anil Kumar Jha, chief of Terai-based Sadbhawana Party (Federal) has been appointed Minister for Industry while Brijesh Kumar Gupta takes charge as Minister for Law and Justice.
Hem Raj Tated of MPRF-Democratic has been made Minister for Environment.
Today`s cabinet expansion is the second after 57-year-old India-educated Bhattarai took office on August 29 with the key support of the five parties Madhesi alliance United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF).