Oli officially informs ministers about his Cabinet reshuffle planThe prime minister asked Cabinet ministers not to participate in programmes on Wednesday as he will announce rejig, a minister says.
Since being discharged from the hospital on October 31, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has expedited his engagements with party leaders, especially his Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, while taking a slew of decisions.
One of the major announcements that Oli is said to have made was Cabinet reshuffle. A change in Oli secretariat was seen as a prelude to Cabinet rejig. But the continuous delay in the Cabinet reshuffle was becoming a cause for concern—not only for the sitting ministers but also for the party members.
The delay has ended now, party insiders said.
Oli on Tuesday told his Cabinet members that he would make the changes on Wednesday.
“I am going to reshuffle Cabinet tomorrow. Some may remain in the Cabinet, others may not. So don’t plan any official function,” a minister, who requested anonymity, quoted Oli as saying at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting. “He also thanked all for their support until today.”
According to the minister, the prime minister, however, was quick to add that he was not changing ministers because they were inefficient but because there were more capable leaders who could better lead the ministries.
The ruling Nepal Communist Party has also called a meeting of its secretariat for Wednesday where Cabinet reshuffle, according to leaders, is likely to top the agenda.
Party insiders said though Sunday’s secretariat meeting had agreed on reshuffling the Cabinet, Oli and Dahal were busy hashing out some last-minute details.
A leader said Dahal was trying to achieve a “package deal” with Oli, which included ministerial posts, Speaker appointment and sole leadership of the party.
“Actually, Dahal has long been in favour of resolving all the issues in a package,” said Haribol Gajurel, a standing committee member close to Dahal. “Now, Oli should take rest and hand over the responsibilities of both the party and government to other leaders.”
House Speaker’s post has been a major bone of contention in the party.
The post has remained vacant since early October after Krishna Bahadur Mahara stepped down following rape allegations. Dahal is for having a member from the Maoist party as the Speaker.
Dahal is not happy with Oli’s proposal to appoint former Speaker Subas Chandra Nembang, according to a leader who represents the former Maoist party.
Another concern Dahal had raised was Oli’s plan to change only a few ministers—five to six. Leaders said Dahal was of the view that by changing only a handful of ministers would not help speed up government’s performance.
Despite preparations going on for long for the Cabinet reshuffle, the delay has caused some unease among some ministers, who say such things should be done without delay.
“The sitting ministers feel humiliated. If the prime minister wants to reshuffle the Cabinet, he should do it without any delay,” said Gajurel. “After all, they are also the leaders of the party and such activities are not good for their image.”
Minister for Industries and Commerce Matrika Yadav, who said he was told by one of the party co-chairs that he would be replaced, said he did not join Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting because he felt humiliated.
“I have already told Prime Minister Oli and Co-chair Dahal that I am ready to quit anytime the party makes it decision,” Yadav told the Post.