Kathmandu, February 10
After becoming prime minister in August, Pushpa Kamal Dahal had vowed to focus on result-oriented work and not waste time by attending formal events or cutting ribbons. But six months down the line, the PM has failed to walk the talk.
Dahal had set four priorities — amending the constitution, holding civic polls, giving pace to the post-earthquake reconstruction work and spearheading infrastructure development.
Discontinuing the tradition of holding regular Cabinet meeting twice a week – on Mondays and Thursdays — Prime Minister Dahal’s Cabinet met only twice — on February 2 and January 19 — in the past one month. An emergency meeting, however, was held yesterday at his official residence to extend the tenure of transitional justice commissions.
Dahal’s schedule posted on his website, cmprachanda.com, shows that he attended at least 26 functions related to cutting ribbons and lighting lamps in the last 30 days. During this period, he went to Parbat to inaugurate a trade fair, flew to Chitwan to attend a convention of contractors’ association and to lay the foundation stone of a martyrs’ park. He also visited Siraha to unveil statues of martyrs.
His fondness for such events has not ebbed. Today itself, he attended a function marking the 26th anniversary of the establishment of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority and the annual general meeting of the Management Association in the capital.
According to one of his aides, the PM receives around a dozen invites daily but accepts only one or two of them.
His engagements include meeting national and international delegates, leaders of parties and representatives of the House, commissions and organisations to dwell on current socio-political topics. But the priorities he had set have not been met yet.
As ex-officio chairman of Investment Board Nepal, Dahal has called only one meeting since he became the prime minister.
Referring to the executive head’s busy schedule of inaugurating seminars and cutting ribbons, Dahal’s predecessor and leader of the opposition KP Sharma Oli had said, “One who carries scissors in one pocket and match-box in another can’t do anything.”
When asked, the PM’s Chief Political Adviser Chandra Prakash Khanal admitted that the PM had not kept all his promises.
“Once he attended two inaugural events. Others considered it a precedent and started inviting him,” Khanal told THT. He, however, claimed that most of the PM’s public appearances were for the larger benefit of the people.
Leaders of the prime minister’s own party have expressed concern about the PM attending inauguration events and seminars, a source told this daily, seeking anonymity.
“We’ll try to reduce the prime minister’s presence in such events,” Khanal said. “From now on he will attend only such events that are directly related to benefit of the public.”
A version of this article appears in print on February 11, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.