KATHMANDU, Oct 1: Amid criticism from across the political spectrum, including the ruling Nepal Communist Party, for failing to deliver results as expected by the general public, Prime Minister KP Oli has renewed his efforts to reshuffle the cabinet. A reshuffle is expected to take place once internal differences about whom to pick as new ministers or whose portfolios to change are ironed out.
Party leaders and Oli’s own aides say the prime minister is desperate to reshuffle the cabinet in view of failure on the delivery front. According to them, the reshuffle will take place within a couple of weeks.
“The prime minister feels the cabinet reshuffle has became long overdue. He will make it happen soon,” said one of his aides adding, “It should have happened earlier; that was the plan. The prime minister has now taken up the matter again and it will not be delayed much longer.”
With this in mind, Oli is said to be holding a series of close-door meetings with influential party leaders. He and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the other party chairman, have been holding discussions in recent days. Oli is in discussions with Vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal also to balance out the internal power equation.
The prime minister reportedly wants to change the portfolio of Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ishwar Pokharel. Pokharel is likely to move over to Finance or some other ministry instead of Defense.
NCP leaders Surendra Pandey, Bhim Rawal, Pampha Bhusal, Janardan Sharma and Prabhu Shah, among others, are expected to get ministerial berths. Likewise, some incumbent ministers such as Gokul Baskota, Pradeep Gyawali, Ram Bahadur Thapa and Beena Magar will either be removed or assigned new portfolios.
The cabinet changes are, however, likely to occur only after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Nepal. Xi is expected here in mid-October. This will be a visit to Nepal by a Chinese president after a gap of 23 years.
Prime Minister Oli tried to reshuffle his cabinet back in June as well. It was, however, put on hold as the party unification process was ongoing and the government then had to focus on containing the protests triggered by the controversial Guthi Bill.