Oli might be in poor health but he is showing no signs of slowing downThe prime minister has already taken a number of crucial decisions and has scheduled a series of long-overdue meetings for the next couple of days.
Doctors had advised Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, who recently underwent two rounds of dialysis for a failing kidney, to take it slow and not exert himself too much. But Oli, who is weighing the options of regular dialysis or another kidney transplant, has been as active as ever in governance, taking significant back-to-back decisions in a matter of days.
Days after relieving the governors of the seven provinces of their duties and appointing new ones, Oli on Friday asked his secretariat members to step down. According to insiders in the ruling party, Oli is preparing for a Cabinet reshuffle.
Within the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), Oli now wants to expedite the process of concluding outstanding issues of party unification. After holding a one-on-one meeting with Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Sunday, Oli has called a party secretariat meeting for Monday morning.
“The two leaders have agreed to conclude the remaining tasks of party unification,” said Bishnu Sapkota, press advisor to Dahal. “They have agreed to make appointments to the remaining departments of the party.”
The party has yet to finalise its election and audit committees, besides forming an advisory council. With Amik Sherchan appointed as governor of Gandaki Province, the party needs a new chief of the discipline committee.
Oli has also called a meeting of the Constitutional Council for Tuesday afternoon, according to Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe. Months after their formation, four constitutional commissions are still without the office bearers. Currently, the Janajati Commission, Inclusion Commission, Women Commission and Dalit Commission are without leadership while the Council has yet to appoint members to the commissions that do have their chiefs. After former secretary Shanta Raj Subedi resigned, the National Inclusion Commission is without a chairperson and commissioners.
Oli’s decision-making spree and calling a number of important meetings are seen by many in the party as emblematic of differences between him and Dahal. The leader of the former Maoist party was increasingly unhappy after finding himself playing second fiddle to Oli, as he was without any concrete responsibility in the party. With Oli running both the government and the party on his own, Dahal on many occasions had brought up a deal the two leaders had reached in May last year. According to the deal, Oli and Dahal would lead the government in turns.
Many had expected discussion on a change in leadership, given Oli’s deteriorating health, said one party leader, but Oli is in no mood to hand over the mantle anytime soon.
By appointing new governors and ignoring senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal’s recommendations, Oli has, by and large, managed to keep loyal party leaders happy. Oli’s Cabinet reshuffle is also expected to help strengthen him both within the party and the government. Nepal, meanwhile, has registered a note of dissent with the party regarding the governor appointments.
“Most probably, the prime minister will reshuffle his Cabinet after the November 30 by-elections,” said a central committee member who has close relations with Oli. “The decision to change the secretariat team is a prelude to the Cabinet reshuffle. It appears that he is trying to send a message to his Cabinet members.”
Some leaders in the ruling party, however, said this is all part of the course for Oli.
“The prime minister actually works in this fashion,” said Surya Thapa, a central committee member. “He did not want to make changes before the festival, so a lot of issues are pending.”