Star Performers In Present Cabinet


 Mukti Rijal

The nation is all agog with local level election and its results spewed out in a hurtling manner. As all ears are definitely awake and attentive to update on the local election results, the change in the guards of the present coalition government is also getting a wee bit of attention.

Gentlemen’s Agreement

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda is reported to have told in a meeting held with the Rastriya Janata Party leaders the other day that he would resign within a week to uphold the gentlemen’s agreement with the NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba solemnised last year when the NC-Maoist Centre coalition came into being to take the reins of the government following the resignation of the then Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli.

 CPN (UML) president and former Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was alleged to have reneged on the pact agreed with the present Prime Minister Prachanda to swap the post of the chief executive. This had forced the latter to forge an alliance with NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba to dislodge Oli and take over the government responsibility. Though former prime minister Oli has a different version to defend him on this score, the relationship between both two leaders heading  two major mutually adversary communist parties  has deteriorated  since then. Incumbent Prime Minister Prachanda looks set to abide by the terms of agreement though he has survived in the country’s top executive post for additional two months in excess of the terms of agreement due to uncertainty and confusions about the local polls.

Prime minister Prachanda should, indeed, be credited for his determination to hold the local elections despite incessant opposition from the Madhes-based parties. However, he was able to manage to keep the Madhes-based parties engaged and execute his agenda for holding local elections risking even poor show of his party in the husting. The results of the first phase local polls indicate that Prime Minister Prachanda’s party is trailing behind in the third position after UML and NC respectively according to seat tally announced so far.

The change in the coalition government leadership will definitely be followed by the induction of new faces in the council of ministers. Since the coalition government partners have several aspirants in waiting for ministerial berths, political leaders will be compelled to accommodate them to checkmate rebellion and dissidence from within. Some star performers have made a mark in the present coalition government that has bolstered the image of the Prachanda-led government despite many dismal failures and fallacies in several fronts. This writer is worried over and concerned with if the ministers who have produced some good results will be retained in the new cabinet.

As a conscious citizen one is always agitated and agonised over the deterioration and woeful neglect of development and service delivery that the people have to regularly confront with. A small beginning or initiative of the policy makers, ministers and administrators does earn and generate praises and plaudits from the part of the people. In the present cabinet ministers like Janardan Sharma, Gagan Thapa, Nabindra Raj Joshi and Hit Raj Pandey can be singled out and appreciated for their noticeable performance.

Minister Janardan Sharma did a remarkable leadership to end the load-shedding not only in the Kathmandu Valley but also in key cities outside the valley.   He has brightened not only his image, but also the party and the government itself. The impact of the cutting of the load-shedding has consequential impacted in the economic growth and development of the country. This writer votes for Janardan Sharma in the next coalition cabinet most probably to be led by NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba if everything goes as planned and scheduled. His retention in the new cabinet will ensure continuation of several measures that he has planned for organisational reform and reengineering of the Nepal Electricity Authority. Any change of the governmental set up should not disturb or discourage duo combination of Janardan Sharma and Kulman Singh Ghising who have brought all smiles in the faces of the Nepalese people.

Another star performer in the present coalition cabinet is Health Minister Gagan Thapa who has inspired optimism and promise through his unrelenting efforts in fixing the health sector that was chaotic and messed up for considerable length of time. The public sector hospitals have been in a state of mismanagement and neglect. Though the government has introduced free medicine schemes and many other such measures to benefit the poor people who are not able to afford the private medical treatment, this has not been effective enough. Health Minister Gagan Thapa has worked hard to improve the health sector despite several hiccups he has to encounter to move the process ahead.

 Last year when he was inducted in the cabinet this columnist had commented in the op-ed page saying, “All the eyes are focused on Gagan Thapa, Health Minister in the coalition cabinet led by Maoist leader Pushspa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.  He is expected to be a star performer in this cabinet particularly because of his youthful charm, charisma and accomplishment both as a leader and parliamentarian. Gagan Thapa is one of the few young leaders in the country who inspires hope and enthusiasm in the people.  In case he fails to deliver and accomplish up to expectations reposed on him, it will not be his failure alone, but the falter of the contemporary young generation of leaders who do garner and compose some trust of the people. It is often the case that a leader when he or she takes the responsibility in the executive position, he or she is found to be failing to satisfy the high expectations of the people or his or her adherents.  The poor performance when in power is destined to lose the charm and trust that he or she had earned while staying outside the corridor of power. The surging popularity dips surprisingly, never to rise again. The leaders who  do hold out  political promise for the future should therefore  think seriously  and  calculate the situation before taking the reins of the power.” 

Minister Gagan Thapa has definitely survived the disasters the non performers meet bruising their future political careers.

Promising performer

Similarly, Nabindra Raj Joshi, the young Nepali Congress leader who has handled the Industry Ministry portfolio is also a promising performer in the present cabinet. The way he has taken up initiatives to revive and open the public sector industries that had been ailing and shut down for long have won several admirers for him. He has introduced several measures to revamp the stagnant industry sector too.

Similarly, ex-minister and Maoist leader from Gorkha Hit Raj Pandey who presided over the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) at the time when the local level units have been restructured and rationalised which was not possible had he not stood steadfast to this historic step.  He quit the ministerial berth quietly when he was asked by the Prime Minister to vacate the post. As an individual minister can make a difference through his or her performance and commitment, those who have excelled in their job should not be replaced in the impending reshuffling of the council of ministers.  This will ensure the continuity of the sound policies and their implementation.

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