Prime minister sacks four Janata Samajbadi ministersThey had believed that Deuba wouldn’t take such a major decision after the poll code came into force.
After consulting with the chief election commissioner, legal experts and leaders of the ruling coalition, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba on Thursday sacked four ministers representing the Janata Samajbadi Party that joined hands with the CPN-UML for the upcoming polls.
“On the recommendation of the prime minister, the President has relieved four ministers of their responsibilities,” the President’s Office said in a statement on Thursday evening.
The President has also assigned the duties of minister for law, justice and parliamentary affairs Govinda Prasad Sharma (Koirala) to Minister for Communication and Information Technology Gyanendra Bahadur Karki on the prime minister’s recommendation. Sharma’s term as law minister ended last week after he failed to become a member of Parliament. An advocate, Sharma was appointed the law minister on April 7.
As per the constitution, ministers lose their job unless they are elected to the federal parliament within six months of appointment.
Janata Samajbadi leaders had tried to defend their positions arguing that they hadn’t quit the government but only partnered with the UML for the elections in some constituencies.
Prime Minister Deuba had discussed the matter with the CPN (Maoist Centre), the CPN (Unified Socialist), and the Rastriya Janamorcha. The coalition partners were divided on the issue even though Deuba was firm on sacking them. Some leaders had suggested only relieving them of their duties and rendering them ministers without portfolio. They had argued that the party could still be a part of the coalition considering the possibility of new partnerships after the elections.
But the prime minister was not convinced. The ministers from Janata Samajbadi had hoped that the prime minister might hesitate to take such a major decision after the election code came into force.
“Once it becomes caretaker, the government cannot take major decisions. Since ousting the ministers is also a major decision, I don’t think the prime minister will take any decision to this effect,” Rajendra Shrestha, a JSP leader and federal affairs minister, had told the Post while he still held the position. His party had not taken any decision about recalling the ministers.
Sources at Deuba’s secretariat said he had consulted on Monday with Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Thapaliya, who had suggested that a caretaker prime minister cannot appoint new ministers but sacking them would be alright.
From the Janata Samajbadi Party, Pradeep Yadav held the forest and environment portfolio, Rajendra Shrestha the federal affairs and general administration, and Mohammad Istiyak Rai the physical infrastructure and transport while Mrigendra Kumar Singh was the minister for agriculture and livestock development.
Deuba led the government during the federal and provincial elections in 2017 as well. The Maoist Centre was a ruling party too but the Maoists ditched the coalition to forge an electoral alliance with the UML. At that time, Deuba had stripped the Maoist ministers of their responsibilities but they remained in the government as ministers without portfolio.