KATMANDU, June 17: Prime Minister KP Oli is quietly working to reshuffle his cabinet as questions are being raised about the government's performance from different quarters including his own party, the Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
An advisor to the prime minister said, Oli had wanted to reshuffle the cabinet immediately after the fiscal budget was endorsed by parliament but the work was delayed for a couple of reasons. The reshuffle, according to the advisor, is likely to happen within a few weeks.
Before reshuffling the cabinet, Oli wants to resolve some internal disputes related to party organization and some issues related to the merger agreement between the then CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Center). Also, the prime minister intends to address the anti-government protests initiated by Guthi supporters and the concerns of other disgruntled groups before effecting a cabinet reshuffle.
Prime Minister Oli had wanted to resolve the dispute over nominating members to the party politburo before his Europe tour. But his attempts went in vain due to dissatisfaction from some senior leaders of the party to his proposal. At the same time, another party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has demanded honest implementation of an agreement on sharing the prime ministership signed between him and Oli before the merger of the two parties.
Citing a point of the agreement, Dahal had a few days ago demanded that either he should be allowed to become prime minister after Oli completes half of his five-year term or ensure him the post of party chairman through the party's general convention. Also, Guthi supporters have intensified their protests against the government while the prime minister was in Europe.
Upon his arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport, Oli hinted that the bill will be revised to address genuine concerns.“Some internal and external factors have delayed a cabinet reshuffle but it will happen within a few weeks as the prime minister has to balance the power centers within the party and improve the government's performance,” said the advisor seeking anonymity.
Informed sources say even as Prime Minister Oli has not given any clue to ministers about his plan to reshuffle the cabinet he has already started consultations with top leaders on how to maintain internal power balance through ministerial appointments and calm the dissidents in the party. PM Oli has already taken briefing from his aides on the ministers' performance.
But before reshuffling the cabinet, Oli wants to revise the Guthi Bill as demanded by stakeholders, and take Dahal and other leaders into confidence and conclude the remaining tasks of party unification at the earliest.
“Newars of the Valley are the party's vote bank. So, the government will not undermine their protests. Instead, it will revise the bill and other internal issues will be sorted out. Then, the issue of cabinet reshuffle will be formally discussed among top leaders,” said the advisor.