KATHMANDU: It seems four ministers of the Unified Socialist party are undergoing desperate times. Therefore, they are making desperate moves to save their ministerial position.
For these four ministers – Ram Kumari Jhakri, Prem Ale, Birodh Khatiwada and Kisan Shrestha – to save their ministerial position has been their single point agenda as of now as they have been seeing their chairs slipping away from them with each passing day.
Knowing that they are likely to go down soon, Jhakri, Ale, Khatiwada and Shrestha have been making last-ditch attempts to remain in power despite the party’s decision to recall them from the Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba-led cabinet.
It became evident when some of the ministers of the party left Saturday’s crucial party meeting in a hurry to secure their ministerial posts.
Minister for Tourism Prem Ale reached Doti via Dhangadhi without attending the meeting of the party’s Central Committee held in Kathmandu at a time when the issue of cabinet reshuffle was getting thorny.
Interestingly, Minister Ale left Kathmandu notwithstanding the direction of party Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal.
The Unified Socialist party is in turmoil for the past few days after the party decided to recall four ministers and send new faces to the cabinet.
Out of 10 leaders, who signed the eight-point demand expressing dissatisfaction with the leadership’s recommendation for the reshuffle, six, including Minister Ale, have withdrawn their signatures while the rest are yet to withdraw their signatures and are making a last-ditch effort to secure their posts.
Health Minister Khatiwada, Urban Development Minister Jhankri, and Labor, Employment and Social Security Minister Shrestha, and lawmakers Nira Jairu have not backed down from the decision.
They have reiterated their stands on the demand and said that they would not withdraw their signatures.
They even reached Baluwatar to put pressure on Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and also met top leaders of the ruling coalition.
Meanwhile, the party’s Central Committee meeting held on Saturday reiterated the party’s position that the ministers would be recalled from the cabinet and new faces would be inducted into the Deuba-led cabinet.
Unified Socialist party’s spokesperson, Jagannath Khatiwada said, “The new ministers will be sworn-in by Monday.”
According to Khatiwada, the party has already drawn the attention of Prime Minister Deuba to swear in the recommended leaders.
“Any delay in reshuffling the cabinet would be an insult to the party,” he claimed.
Khatiwada, meanwhile, reiterated the party’s stance of continuing with the current five-party coalition until the upcoming general elections “for mutual benefit”.
It should be noted that 10 lawmakers, including four ministers, had asked the party leadership to hold a meeting of the Parliamentary Party to decide the fate of the ministers.
Meanwhile, the fourth central committee meeting of the Unified Socialist endorsed the party Secretariat’s decision to recall four ministers from the Cabinet.
The secretariat meeting had decided to recall the ministers from the party- Birodh Khatiwada, Prem Bahadur Ale, Krishna Kumar Shrestha and Ram Kumari Jhankri.
According to the deputy chief of the central publicity department of the party, Shambhu Shrestha, General Secretary Dr Beduram Bhushal presented a report which was passed with some amendments.
In the report, Dr Bhushal has incorporated the contemporary situation of the country along with international development and possible effects.
Similarly, the relevance and need for the alliance have been stressed in the report, arguing it was for the protection of the constitution and political system.
Meanwhile, the party took action against four central members as Lok Bandhu Kangdangwa (Jhapa), Tarak Bahadur Shahi (Dailekh), Rajya Laxmi Malla (Mugu) and Narad Malasi (Doti). They have been relieved from the post of general member.