PM may intend to induct critics into a major cabinet reshuffle

PM may intend to induct critics into a major cabinet reshuffle

PM K P Oli is intending to initiate some of his critics inside the party into his new team as he prepares a major cabinet reshuffle next week, said ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) leaders privy to the development.

PM Oli had to face criticism inside the party for designating only his own loyalists as ministers some two years ago. Notwithstanding the criticisms from various quarters, Oli designated loyalist Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal as a law minister following Sher Bahadur Tamang, who was close to Madhav Nepal, was forced out of the post over some controversial remarks he made.

To decline criticism inside the party, Oli has designated his critic Yogesh Bhattarai as a tourism minister. The position had fallen vacant following the death of incumbent Rabindra Adhikari in a helicopter crash.

Dissatisfied with the performance of his confidants in the cabinet and among criticism inside the party upon the government’s dismal track record, Oli has long been consulting top party leaders regarding a reshuffle. He also held various meetings for the last week with his fellow party chairperson, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, according to an NCP leader who did not want to be named.

Many NCP leaders told Republica that at least two ministers representing the preceding Maoist Center and five from the preceding CPN-UML are most likely to be asked to present their resignations to pave the way for new faces in the cabinet.

A secretariat member of the NCP told Republica that the two-party leaders are yet to finalize the new set of candidates. But the prime minister has been planning to induct new members in his cabinet early next week.

From the UML party, Oli’s critics in the party Bhim Rawal and Surendra Pandey and Ghanashyam Bhusal are being given ministerial berths, said an NCP leader close to Oli. Janardan Sharma and Devendra Paudel are also most likely candidates, while either Agni Sapkota or Pampha Bhusal is being viewed from the Maoist faction for inclusion in the reshuffled cabinet. Sharma, Sapkota, and Bhusal have been criticizing numerous resolutions of the Oli government.

Matrika Yadav Minister for Industry and Commerce and Chakrapani Khanal Agriculture Minister are likely to be expelled from the Maoist side while Minister for Drinking Water and Sanitation Bina Magar may find a new ministerial portfolio, namely youth and sports, as per the top party sources.

Ministers for Youth and Sports Jagat Biswakarma, Federal Affairs and General Administration Minister Lalbabu Pandit, Physical Planning and Infrastructure Minister Raghubir Mahasheth, and Women and Social Welfare Minister Thammaya Thapa are also likely to be asked to step down, said multiple sources.
Furthermore, sources said that Pradeep Gyawali Foreign Minister is expected to step down and work as chief political advisor to PM Oli.

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