Debate in Nepali Congress: Why Deuba doesn’t want to change the ministers?

Kathmandu – The performance of Nepali Congress (NC) ministers within the Pushpa Kamal Dahal government has been a contentious topic within the party, stirring debates and criticisms during the recent central committee meeting at Sanepa, held over a three-day period from Thursday to Saturday. The primary focus of this gathering was to assess the government’s progress over the year and scrutinize the efforts of NC ministers serving for over eight months.

Led by NC Vice-president Purna Bahadur Khadka, the NC delegation within the government encompasses key figures such as Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and Defense Minister Khadka, Minister for Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs Dhan Raj Gurung, Finance Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat, Foreign Minister NP Saud, Health Minister Mohan Basnet, Industry Minister Ramesh Rijal, Urban Development Minister Sita Gurung, Youth and Sports Minister Dig Bahadur Limbu, and Minister for Women, Children, and Senior Citizens Surendra Raj Acharya.

The central committee members expressed widespread dissatisfaction, citing that NC ministers failed to work in a manner that produced tangible results, ultimately falling short of meeting public expectations. Furthermore, concerns were raised about a lack of coordination between the NC ministers and the party.

During the meeting, the NC ministers provided both oral and written briefings on their respective portfolios, but these explanations failed to persuade the central committee members. The ministers cited limitations within the coalition government, emphasizing restricted resources and means as impediments to their desired performance.

Numerous central committee members advocated for a reshuffle of NC ministers within the government due to their perceived underperformance. However, no definitive decision was made in this regard, as NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba was hesitant to support immediate changes.

Central member Pradip Paudel voiced concern over the party’s communication strategy, highlighting a lack of substantial topics to convey to the public during the ongoing month-long ‘NC in the Community’ campaign. He also criticized Deuba, suggesting that the President refrained from criticizing the government due to fears of jeopardizing his support to become the Prime Minister as part of the coalition agreement.

Gagan Thapa, the General Secretary, echoed disappointment with the government’s overall performance and demanded the NC ministers present a list of eight achievements accomplished in the eight months. He stressed the need for setting clear targets and warned of potential ministerial changes if these targets were not met.

While some ministers complained about the party’s alleged failure to publicize the government’s accomplishments, Thapa argued that it was not solely the party’s responsibility but rather a collective duty for every citizen to acknowledge positive governmental initiatives.

In contrast, DPM Khadka defended the government’s actions, asserting that the narrative claiming ‘nothing has been achieved’ was inaccurate. He insisted that the ministers were performing adequately and were not embroiled in any scandals, proposing a discussion with the PM to address grievances about performance.

NC Chief Whip Ramesh Lekhak balanced the perspectives, stating that both extreme views – claiming the government had done everything right or had done nothing at all – were flawed. He emphasized the necessity of an effective and active coalition while acknowledging the absence of a viable alternative.

Despite Prime Minister Dahal’s recent request for a list of new NC ministers, Deuba was reluctant to initiate changes. Speculation arose that Deuba might have apprehensions about Dahal’s motives, suspecting a ploy to retain the PM position by frequently seeking new ministerial appointments.

The Chief of the Publicity Department, Min Bahadur Bishwokarma, highlighted Deuba’s intention to defer discussions regarding ministerial changes, citing an impending mahasamiti meeting and the upcoming National Assembly election as factors contributing to the decision-making timeline.

In summary, the central committee meeting revealed deep-seated concerns within the Nepali Congress regarding the performance of its ministers in the government, with diverse viewpoints about the path forward and the need for more effective governance strategies.

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