Cabinet reshuffle talks: What’s on the mind of incumbent ministers?


Kathmandu, 18 November (2019) – News about reshuffling of the cabinet has been doing the rounds for the last few days.

Co-chair of the Nepal Communist Party and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” have been deliberating on this issue regularly.

Cabinet reshuffle issue featured in NCP Secretariat meeting on Sunday as well. PM Oli informally raised the issue in the secretariat meeting.

“PM Oli said that he was thinking about reshuffling the cabinet and all of us requested him to consider all sectors,” a participant in the meeting told Lokantar. “But since this issue comes under the jurisdiction of the PM, we cannot bring it to conclusion formally.”

Print and online media outlets have mentioned names of some ministers about to be relieved of their duties. Lal Babu Pandit, Chakra Pani Khanal “Baldev”, Tham Maya Thapa Magar, Jagat Bishwakarma, Raghubir Mahaseth and Matrika Yadav are said to be facing the axe.

These kinds of news stories are published quoting anonymous sources. Many ministers have refuted these news stories publicly saying that they are false. But these news stories still get published.

Minister of Women, Children and Social Welfare Tham Maya Magar said that all these reports are mere rumours. Talking with Lokantar on Monday, Minister Magar claimed that such rumours put psychological pressure on the ministers and reduce their work performance.

“We have been accomplishing our duties and thus have no fear,” she said. “But we don’t know who spreads such rumours.”

Minister of Industry, Commerce and Supplies Matrika Yadav has told his close associate that the rumour surrounding cabinet reshuffle is not good for the morale.

Secretariat of Minister Yadav has commented that these kinds of rumours has not made any differences to the minister. “But some of his projects have been withheld in the cabinet,” a member of the secretariat team told Lokantar. “The minister was thinking about resigning from the post but the PM asked him to stay.”

Some days ago Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth said that talks of cabinet reshuffle has been heard for the last 13 months. Speaking at a public programme Minister Mahaseth said that these kinds of news instil fear in ministers.

Some government officers have claimed that rumours about cabinet reshuffle hampers day to day activities of the ministry. When asked about whether the government secretaries will obey the instructions of the ministers under the scanner, one secretary said, “This is not an issue of obeying or disobeying. Everyone needs to do their job. But it instils a kind of fear. Ministers expedite projects that is in their favour once they learn that they are about to be axed. And minster’s close associates also pressure the civil servants to carry out favourable work.”

He said that rather than secretaries disobeying the ministers, the ministers’ followers pressure the secretaries to expedite all their pet projects.