Province 3 Minister Keshav Sthapit likely to be sacked

Kathmandu, November 1

Incensed by the ‘misbehaviour’ of his Cabinet colleague Physical Infrastructure and Development Minister Keshav Sthapit, Chief Minister of Province 3 Dormani Poudel is planning to sack him.

Poudel is unhappy with Sthapit also because he is ‘the least performing minister’ in the Cabinet.

CM Poudel came to Kathmandu today and discussed  issues related to Sthapit with Prime Minister and Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Chairperson KP Sharma Oli at Manmohan Cardiothoracic Vascular and Transplant Centre of Tribhuvan University where the PM is undergoing treatment for chest infection and blood sugar level fluctuation.

According to a source close to CM Poudel, the CM will remove Sthapit from the Cabinet once he gets the green signal from the party leadership. Both Poudel and Sthapit are from the same party. The source said that after meeting the PM, Poudel was almost certain he would remove Sthapit. As per Article 169 (2) (b), the CM can remove his Cabinet colleague.

“Ours is a Westminster model Cabinet and the CM can dismiss Sthapit,” the minister added.

According to the minister, Sthapit misbehaved with the CM and used foul language after the Cabinet meeting yesterday in Hetauda. “The meeting got over and we were leaving when Sthapit started misbehaving with the CM in front of civil servants,” the source said. According to him, most of the provincial lawmakers and ministers also want Sthapit to be sacked after the incident.

The minister said the CM wanted better performance from Sthapit and had reminded him of the same in the past on multiple occasions.

“A large chunk of the provincial budget has been allocated to Sthapit’s ministry, but he has not been sincerely mobilising it,” the minister said. Sthapit’s ministry had received Rs17 billion budget for this fiscal.

Sthapit, however denied he had misbehaved with the CM. Talking over phone, Sthapit said he had talked to Poudel in ‘a high-pitched voice’ when the latter expressed dissatisfaction with his performance.

“We only discussed development issues in high-pitched voices, nothing more than that. I also asked the CM to give me sufficient number of employees to do the job,” Sthapit told The Himalayan Times.

“Although it is true there were some disagreements on development issues, these alone cannot justify my sacking,” he said, adding, “The CM told me he was under pressure as development projects had not progressed. I told him a leader is always under pressure but s/he has to handle it.”

Recently, two women, who joined the ‘Me too’ campaign accused Sthapit of sexually harassing them in the past. Sthapit has, however, denied these charges.