Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
New cabinet appointments

Badri Prasad Mandal: Within a week of the king telling him: "Sometimes it is necessary to act in politics", the Sadbhabana Party's general secretary, one time vice-prime minister and minister many times over, Badri Prasad Mandal, has again been named minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives. During the Panchayat era, Mandal was infamous for sexually assaulting a nurse at Bir Hospital. But the fact that Mandal shares his home district Morang with Girija Prasad Koirala seems to be the real reason behind his new appointment.

Prakash Koirala: He stood against the People's Movement in 1990, has no personal attributes and is known more for using his father BP Koirala's name. After he was named the Minister for Science and Technology, Koirala had this to say: "I have walked with BP's ideology of national friendship." However, many are surprised that Prakash hasn't given up his loyalty to the palace, even after his uncle Girija Prasad Koirala helped him win the election, made him minister and even elected him to the core committee of the Nepali Congress. His support for the February First move got him expelled from the party's general membership.

Salim Miya Ansari: His political birthplace is the UML. Ansari, however, opted for constitutional monarchy as his main religion and chaired the Socialist Party three years ago. In 1994, the UML made him the minister of Forest and Soil Conservation, and the coalition government after that gave him the Tourism Ministry. The only reason Ansari made it to this list is because he represents a minority community. After taking RNAC to the brink of extinction, Ansari left the UML and entered caste politics with the Muslim Ittihad Sangh.

Yankila Sherpa: Tourism and Civil Aviation Assistant Minister Yankila Sherpa is a tourism entrepreneur and a nominated member of the Upper Assembly. However, although now an MP and minister in the king's political experiment, she says: "Don't ask me anything about politics, ask those who have been ministers before."

Golche Sarki: Sarki is among those few in the UML who supported the February First move and quit the party. He was elected to parliament on a UML ticket in 1990 and came to the limelight after he assaulted then Minister Ram Chandra Paudel with a shoe while parliament was in session. After being nominated Assistant Minister for Transport Management, Sarki said, "My nomination is an honour for the whole Dalit society.

Chakka Bahadur Lama: Otherwise known as Chewang Lama in Humla, Chakka Bahadur has been appointed assistant minister for Local Development. Before being elected an MP on a Janamorcha ticket in 1990, Lama spent most of his time with western professors and academicians who visited Humla. He has worked on documentaries such as The Magic Mountain, Dragon Bride, and even Discovery Channel's Lonely Planet series, promoting his native place. In addition to being an expert on the culture, history and people of the region, Lama also acts as a guide for trekkers heading for Mt Kailash and Mansarovar.

Nikshya Shamsher Rana: With the national flag embossed on his jacket, Nikshya Shamsher Rana is a chief protagonist in the "raja au desh bachau" campaign. He is the coordinator of the National Unity Committee and a hardened pro-monarchist who does not wish to hear of multiparty democracy nor lay his eyes on democrats. Rana, now Assistant Minister for Health and Environment, is the great grandson of Juddha Shamsher, youngest son of Keshar Shamsher and a relative of the queen.

Jagat Gauchan: The man chosen by the king to take charge of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, Jagat Gauchan was jailed for a year for his involvement in the attempted murder of journalist Padam Thakurathi. Gauchan, a karate player, is known for riding around town with his friends armed with a gun. He also has a business on the side making money by sending non-athletes abroad.

Niranjan Thapa: Thapa was Home Minister in 1989, during the Panchayat era, and played a significant role in attempting to quell the people's movement. He has now been chosen for the Ministry of Law and Parliamentary Affairs. Thapa never participated in multiparty democracy but chaired the commission for legal amendment.

Senate Shrestha: Assistant Minister for Education, Senate Shrestha's family members have all been named after the fundamental factors of democracy. Cabinet is his younger brother, Parliament and Sansad are his two sons while his daughter is named Session. Senate's father Dil Bahadur Shrestha is considered a loyal pro-monarchist and a hardened supporter of direct rule. Senate is also facing corruption charges relating to a fertiliser scam, along with Home Minister Dan Bahadur Shahi, and has to report to the Supreme Court. Trained as a pilot, he also made big business as a commission agent.

Binod Kumar Shah: Newly appointed Assistant Minister for Water Resources, Binod Kumar Shah was elected from Dailekh on the ticket of the Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party (NMKP) in 1994 but switched to UML. That created such a rift between the two parties that NMKP was soon calling UML an \'MP stealer' and Shah was labelled \'runaway MP'. Shah quit the UML and joined pro-monarchists to support the February First move."

Dr Roop Jyoti: That the vice-chairman of the Jyoti Group, Dr Roop Jyoti, is a king's favourite became known when he was nominated for the Upper House. However, it remains to be seen how the Harvard PhD holder in Political Economics and Government can help his colleague Finance Minister Madhukar Shamsher Rana. Jyoti, who stood in the municipal elections for pradhanpanch from Kathmandu in 1986, and lost, is a firm proponent of the hire-and-fire policy for the Labour Act.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)