Kathmandu July 25
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is planning to reshuffle his Cabinet for the fifth time, as plans are afoot to split the Ministry of Agriculture, Land Management and Cooperatives into two. The PM said he discussed the issue with senior leaders of his Nepal Communist Party.
The PM is planning to divide the MoALMC into the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Land Management and Cooperatives. The MoALMC is being headed by Chakrapani Khanal, who was Co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s political adviser when Dahal was the prime minister.
“The PM is planning to split the ministry, as he is not happy with Khanal’s work in land management,” a source privy to the issue said. “The PM has shown interest in land management issues and he wants a like-minded lawmaker for the post,” he told THT without elaborating.
With this split, the number of ministries at the federal government will rise to 21 from 20.
Once the ministry is split, Khanal will head the Ministry of Agriculture, sources said. “The PM may appoint State Minister of Health and Population, Padma Aryal, as the minister of land management and cooperatives,” sources said, adding, “Aryal was not happy after Gokul Baskota was promoted from state minister to minister, while she was retained as state minister. Moreover, Aryal has become virtually jobless after the PM appointed Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav as the Health and Population Minister,” sources said.
If Aryal is transferred, FSF-N lawmaker will become the State Minister for Health and Population as per the understanding reached between NCP and FSF-N in June. The new minister of land management and cooperatives, meanwhile, is expected to take the oath of office and secrecy, along with the new minister of law, justice and parliamentary affairs, a post which fell vacant after Sher Bahadur Tamang stepped down yesterday.
Sources said lawmakers Bhanu Bhakta Dhakal and Krishna Bhakta Pokharel were vying for the post of minister of law, justice and parliamentary affairs.
The federal government has seven ministers and one state minister from the erstwhile CPN-Maoist Centre, 12 ministers and two state ministers from the erstwhile CPN-UML and two ministers from the FSF-N. The Cabinet’s size, including PM, deputy PM, ministers, state ministers and assistant ministers, should not exceed 25, according to the constitution. The existing Cabinet has two deputy PMs, 18 ministers and three state ministers.
A version of this article appears in print on July 26, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.