Upendra Yadav becomes new Nepal DPM and Foreign Minister

Madhesi party leader Upendra Yadav got the key post of Nepal`s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs portfolio.

Updated: May 05, 2011, 00:48 AM IST

Kathmandu: More than three months after he
was elected Nepal`s Prime Minister, Jhala Nath Khanal on Wednesday
expanded his cabinet, with Madhesi party leader Upendra Yadav
getting the key post of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Affairs portfolio.

Khanal administered the oath of office and secrecy to
over a dozen ministers, including Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum
(MPRF) president Yadav in presence of President Ram Baran
Yadav at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in the capital.

Top Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara got the
powerful Home Ministry along with the post of Deputy Prime

Earlier, Khanal had rejected the Maoists demand for
the Home Ministry portfolio which had delayed the full
expansion for three months.

51-year-old Yadav was Foreign Affairs Minister in the
2008 coalition led by Maoists supremo Prachanda. He held the
portofolio until the end of Prachanda`s government in June

The MPRF was not part of the previous coalition led by
Communist leader Madhav Kumar Nepal.

Yadav, who is of Indian ethnic origin and has been
championing the cause of Hindi language, took his oath in
Hindi today.

Earlier, he had demanded that Hindi be recognised as
an official language in Nepal as it is widely spoken by the
Madhesi community living in the Terai plains.

The plains are home to about half of the country`s 30
million people, and the residents of the region, are known as
Madhesis, who are of Indian origin.

With the latest expansion, the CPN-UML-led coalition
has two deputy prime ministers. It has 25 ministers, including
5 ministers of state.

The Maoists got seven new cabinet ministers and four
state ministers. The MPRF got three cabinet ministers and one
state minister.

Besides the Maoists and MPRF, two smaller left
parties, CPN-United and CPN ML also got one cabinet post each.

Khanal, who is set to embark on a tour of Turkey from
May 7 to attend the Least Developed Countries’ summit, had
been running the government without ministers for Home and
Foreign Affairs.

There is growing concern in the country over the
uncertainty in Nepal`s peace process and failure of the
political parties to agree on a consensus to promulgate a new
constitution for the young republic by the May 28 deadline
Khanal, who was elected the Prime Minister on February
3 after 17 attempts over a seven-month period, has failed to
build a consensus over the deep divisions among the parties.

Political parties in the country are deadlocked over
some of the key issues of the 2006 peace process and are yet
to reach a consensus on the drafting of a new constitution.