Nepal’ caretaker PM reshuffles Cabinet

Nepals caretaker Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli on Friday reshuffled his Cabinet at a time when his decision to dissolve the House and declaration to hold polls in coming November is pending in the Supreme Court for hearing.

Accordingly, President Bidya Devi Bhandari administered the oath of office and secrecy to the newly-appointed ministers at the Sheetal Niwas on Friday evening.

Political parties are questioning his motive to rejing the Cabinet after Oli inducted three Deputy Prime Ministers and removed some ministers from his own party, including Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali.

Raghubir Mahaseth from Oli’s party, the Communist Party of Nepal (UML), has been appointed as the Deputy PM and Foreign Minister replacing Gyawali.

Janata Samajbai Party, a Madhesh-based party that has close political, social, historical and other ties with India, also joined the Oli government.

Janata Sanajbadi Party (JSP) leader Rajendra Mahato joined the Oli government as Deputy PM and Minister for Urban Development.

Likewise, Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel has been promoted to the Deputy PM’s post.

Earlier on Friday evening, Oli inducted eight ministers and two state ministers from the Mahanta Thakur-Rajendra Mahato faction of Janata Samajwadi Party into his Cabinet.

The PM removed all except four ministers representing the government from his party, retaining only Bishnu Prasad Poudel, Krishna Gopal Shrestha, Lilanath Shrestha and Basanta Nembang.

All the newly-appointed ministers took oath of office and secrecy at the Sheetal Niwas, the President’s office, on Friday evening.