KATHMANDU : A meeting of the standing committee of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has concluded on Friday after settling its intra-party political conflicts. The meeting passed a proposal with amendments that was made by chairmen KP Sharma Oli and Pushup Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda.’
The proposal included the issue of reorganizing the Council of Ministers in order to make the work of government more effective. The proposal which has been made public in the media states, “[t]he government will effectively implement the established norms under the policy guidance of the party.”
It also states that there will be a decision made regarding the reorganization and political appointment of the Federal Council of Ministers and Provincial Ministers on the basis of suggestions by the members of the Secretariat, mutual consultation and consensus of the two chairmen and constitutional provisions, legal arrangements and a certain criteria. This criteria will be determined on the basis of balance between merit, ability, integrity, continuity, contribution and national vision.
The government led by the chairman of the Nepal Communist Party, Oli, has already completed half of its five years term, with criticism regarding the ineffectiveness of the government’s action within the party and at the grassroots level of the general public. According to the NCP source, the issue of reorganizing the council of ministers in the standing committee meeting was raised to defend the government from those criticisms with the spirit of popularizing the government at the grassroots level.
As a part of reshuffling the cabinet, there will be a dismissal of the ministers who have completed two years and failed to show effective work, according to a NCP source. The source also informed that Prime Minister Oli is preparing to remove old ministers in order to appoint new ones and also planning to appoint members to fill in the post of the ministers that have been vacant. An internal consultation has already been taken between the two chairpersons Oli-Prachanda and General Secretary Bishu Poudel for this matter. There also have been preparations to amend the responsibilities of some ministers.
The members of the secretariat are safe
It is seen that the members of the secretariat inside and outside the government will have their posts secured and will receive a special establishment in the council of ministers. According to a source in Baluwatar, since most of the decisions of the NCP are made by the secretariat, Prime Minister oil will prioritize the secretariat members, which include Ishwor Pokharel and Ram Bahadur Thapa. According to the sources, Prime Minister Oli is in the mood to keep both the ministers even after completing their two years. However, if necessary, it has been said that there might be changes in their responsibilities.
Bamdev Gautam, Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Bishnu Poudel, who are not even in the cabinet, will also be given priority. However, there is a possibility that General Secretary Poudel will be more involved in the party work since he has been busy with the upcoming general convention. There is also a preparation for recommending Gautam to be nominated as a member of the National Assembly to elect him as a minister . He has himself expressed his interest in becoming an MP to become a minister. Apart from him, other leaders in the secretariat are not in the race to become ministers since they have already assumed the post of Prime Minister.
Working Committee members to be prioritized
The task force was formed under the chairmanship of General Secretary Bishnu Poudel when the intra-party conflict in the NCP had escalated. Among the task force are Bhim Rawal, Shankar Pokharel, Janardan Sharma, Surendra Pandey and Pampha Bhusal. Sources have claimed that the members of the task force will be highly involved in the upcoming cabinet reshuffle.
Prime Minister Oli is expected to improve the image of government by appointing these influential committee members as ministers. Baluwatar also believes that removing people who do not have much influence in the party and appointing influential personalities as ministers will give a positive publicity to the government’s actions.
Currently, there is a vacancy in the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Information and Communication Technology and Ministry of Urban Development. A source has informed that Prime Minister Oli has a plan to make an effective council of ministers by splitting the ministries, removing old ministers who have completed their two years and appointing new ministers.
It is said that there is a plan to remove existing ministers of state and keep only 25 cabinet ministers. According to the constitution, the council of ministers can only have 25 members. At present, there are 22 members in the council of ministers while 3 are vacant.