No Dalits in Dahal’s cabinet, dominated by Chhetri-Bahuns yet again

There is no representation from the Dalit Community in the cabinet led by the Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.

In the 20-member cabinet formed on Wednesday, not a single minister from Dalit Community was seen taking an oath while eight ministers from the CPN (UML), five from the Maoist Center, four from the Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), and two ministers from CPN (Unified Socialist), were sworn in as the new ministers.

Around 14 percent of the total population in Nepal belongs to the Dalit Community and there are 11 Members of Parliament in the Federal Parliament from the UML, the Maoist Center, and the RSP representing the Dalit community.

Dalit human rights activists have voiced their concerns saying that the Maoist Center that fought a decade-long insurgency advocating for the upliftment of the Dalit community and those marginalized by the state and the largest party UML failed to fulfill their promises.

Earlier, the Maoist Center’s Sushila Sirpali had become the state minister in alliance with the Nepali Congress representing the Dalit community.

Currently, in the Federal Parliament, Chabilal Bishwakarma, Ishwar Bahadur Rijal, Prabhu Hajara Dusadh, Chandra Bahadur Bishwakarma, Rukmani Rana Baraili and Harkamaya Bishwakarma are MPs from the UML.

Similarly, Ranendra Baraili, Sushila Sirpali, and Radheshyam Paswan are MPs from the Maoist Center, and Santosh Pariyar and Shiva Nepali are MPs from the RSP.

Even though capable Dalit MPs are in the parliament, the parties that claim to be communists have ignored the representation of Dalits in the cabinet.

The Brahmin community is highly represented in the Prachanda-led cabinet. The 20-member Council of Ministers has eight ministers from the Brahmin community including the Prime Minister.

Similarly, there are three ministers from Chhetri and two women from the Madhesi community. There are three ministers from the Newar community and four from the indigenous nationalities.

The representation of women in the cabinet is also weak. Bhagwati Chaudhary and Jwalakumari Sah from the UML, Rekha Sharma from the Maoist Center, and Sumana Shrestha from the RSP have become ministers in the 20-member cabinet.

The Constitution itself has adopted the provision of inclusive proportional representation in all state agencies. It is an irony that the main parties themselves have not taken care of inclusive and proportional representation while reshuffling the cabinet.

From the UML, Raghubir Mahaseth became Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Padam Giri Law (Justice and Parliamentary Affairs), Hari Upreti (Defense), Bhagwati Chaudhary (Women, Children and Social Welfare), Rajendra Rai (Water Supply), Damodar Bhandari (Industry), Jwala Kumari Sah (Agriculture and Livestock) and Balaram Adhikari became Ministers for Land Management and Cooperatives.

Narayan Kaji Shrestha from the Maoist Center became Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Barshman Pun (Finance), Shakti Basnet (Energy) and Rekha Sharma (Communications and Information Technology) and Hit Bahadur Tamang became Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.

Similarly, Rabi Lamichhane has become Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Home Affairs, DP Aryal (Labor), Sumana Shrestha (Education) and Biraj Bhakt Shrestha has become the Minister for Youth and Sports.

Bhanu Bhakta Joshi has become the Federal Affairs Minister while Dhan Bahadur Budha is the Urban Development Minister representing the Unified Socialist Party.



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