KATHMANDU, March 13: Prime Minister KP Oli has started backdoor negotiations with leaders of the ruling parties to reshuffle the cabinet. Prime Minister Oli, who has long expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of some of the ministers, had intended to reshuffle cabinet soon after the government celebrated its first anniversary, but the work was halted due to the sudden demise of Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari in a helicopter accident last month.
Sources said that Oli now is planning to reshuffle the cabinet at the earliest.
“It could happen any day now. The prime minister has already decided whom to retain and whom to remove. The final list would be decided in consultation with other leaders,” said a source close to the prime minister.
On Tuesday, Oli held a meeting with NCP Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to discuss the reshuffle. Sources said the two leaders discussed possible replacements for outgoing ministers.
“The prime minister had sought my suggestion for cabinet reshuffle. I asked him to decide himself as it is something that falls under the prime minister’s jurisdiction,” Dahal told reporter in Biratnagar later on the day.
Sources said that four cabinet ministers face the axe. Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Yadav, Minister of Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperatives Chakrapani Khanal and Minister for Youth and Sports Jagat Bahadur Sunar Bishwakarma top the list of ministers likely to be axed. Oli will also appoint a new minister of culture, tourism and civil Aviation on the same day. The ministry has remained vacant since Minister Adhikari’s death in Taplejung chopper accident on February 27.
Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth Raghubir Mahashet and Minister for Federal Affairs and General Administration Lal Babu Pandit are also in danger zone although Oli still weighing the possibility, according to sources. Other names in the danger zone couldn’t be immediately confirmed.
“Besides reshuffling the cabinet, there could be some changes in the responsibilities of some ministers. But it is still too early to say anything,” said a leader.