KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 27
Co-chairs of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) — Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli — met today to discuss Cabinet reshuffle.
A source close to Dahal told THT that Dahal asked Oli to replace all the ministers in his Cabinet, but the PM did not agree to his proposal. Oli’s Press Adviser Surya Thapa ruled out Cabinet reshuffle in the near future owning to several differences between the two leaders.
NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said he did not know if the two co-chairpersons had already reached an understanding on the Cabinet reshuffle. According to him, Oli and Dahal would bring the proposal to the party Secretariat after reaching an understanding on the modality of Cabinet reshuffle.
“The party Secretariat has decided to reshuffle the Cabinet in order to enhance the government’s performance,” he said and added that inclusion would be taken into consideration in the reshuffle.
According to Shrestha, Oli had told the secretariat meeting that he was not in favour of a major reshuffle. “Dahal was also not in favour of replacing all the Cabinet members. Instead, he was in favour of replacing most members of the Cabinet retaining a few members,” Shrestha added. He said Dahal wanted to replace most members of the Cabinet because that could help enhance governance.
A Standing Committee member of the NCP told THT that three heavyweights — Oli, Dahal and Madhav Kumar Nepal — would try to induct their loyalists who could brighten the prospects of their factional interests in local, provincial and parliamentary elections. According to him, six NCP leaders, who were members of the task force whose suggestions ended the intra-party feud, could be inducted in the Cabinet when the reshuffle takes place. The six members of the task force were Surendra Prasad Pandey, Bhim Bahadur Rawal, Pampha Bhusal, Janardan Sharma, Shankar Pokharel and party General Secretary Bishnu Prasad Paudel.
As per the constitutional provision, the number of ministers cannot exceed 25.
At present, there are 22 members in the Cabinet, including the prime minister who holds the finance and communications and information technology portfolios. If the PM decides to increase the number of Cabinet ministers to 25, he might have to split some ministries.
A version of this article appears in print on September 28, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.