Thursday, 21 January, 2021

Cabinet Reshuffle

The intra-party tussle in the ruling party has indeed brought an undesired result: the two feuding sides have fragmented the party. As a result, they are now staking claim over the party, stating that they are the bona-fide ruling Nepal Communist Party. The faction, led by party co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda and Madhav Kumar Nepal has hit the streets in a bid to pile pressure on the party rivals and the Election Commission to grant it the status of de-facto NCP, besides allowing it to keep the party emblems. On the other hand, the group led by the Prime Minister and party chair KP Sharma Oli has said that his faction is the genuine NCP, and it has the right to keep the party election symbol- the Sun and party's flag, apart from the party office and other belongings.

Both sides have taken steps to bolster position against each other. In a latest move, the Prachanda-Nepal faction has declared Nepal as co-chair of their faction, unseating chairperson Oli. Dahal has been nominated as the leader of the parliamentary party in place of Oli. The Oli-group has, on the other, dismissed Dahal as co-chair. After the rivalry between the two factions deepened, the rivals tried to register no-confidence motion in the House of Representatives, the Prime Minister had no option but to dissolve the Lower House of Parliament, forcing seven ministers in his cabinet, who were loyalists to the Prachanda-Nepal faction, to quit the government en-masse. The resignation from these ministers created a void in the Council of Ministers, which must have given headache to the Prime Minister in running the day-to-day affairs of his government.

The emerging situation compelled him to reshuffle and expand his Council of Ministers. The latest reshuffling saw the addition of nine new faces, eight ministers and one state minister. Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Mani Chandra Thapa, Prabhu Sah, Prem Ale, Ganesh Thagunna, Gauri Shankar Chaudhary, Dawa Lama Tamang and Julie Kumari Mahato were appointed as ministers and Bimala Biswakarma as state minister. The PM also relieved two ministers- Jagat Bishwakarma and Moti Lal Dugad- from their responsibility, while he altered the portfolios of some of ministers. No doubt, the restructuring of the cabinet became a necessity for the Prime Minister following the dissolution of the House. He himself could not have kept so many portfolios to himself for carrying out the activity of these ministries.

Similarly, the emerging situation after the alleged division in the ruling party required him to appoint the leaders, who had given up their loyalty to the Dahal-Nepal faction, as ministers. The PM's move would not only give stability to the government until the next general election is held but also enthuse the beleaguered party. At a time when the issue of House dissolution is under sub-judice in the Supreme Court and in the streets of the capital, the PM was in a great urgency of bolstering his faction's position vis-à-vis his erstwhile party colleagues. The reshuffle and expansion of the Council of Ministers have thus been aimed at gaining mileage at present circumstances when his rivals are engaging in every act to discredit the government. 

How do you feel after reading this news?