Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli had made his ministers sign performance agreement and said he will do their performance appraisal. He had been telling them that those who have excelled will continue while those found wanting will be sacked during the Cabinet reshuffle.
Bina Magar, Matrika Yadav, Chakrapani Khanal, Raghubir Mahaseth and Tham Maya Thapa Magar--the first three from the then CPN (Maoist Center) and the two from CPN-UML--were found to be the worst performers after the appraisal.
The four out of the five have been sacked in the Cabinet reshuffle Wednesday night but Magar survived. Gokarna Bista and Lal Babu Pandit--who along with Giriraj Mani Pokharel were deemed to be average performers--got the axe but Magar surprisingly survived.
Or not surprisingly perhaps.
Magar is widow of the late son of CPN Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. "Bina Magar will not be removed from minister even if the world turns upside down. She is a member of chairman's family," a CPN leader close to Oli had jokingly commented to Setopati Wednesday morning.
Sources at the PM's secretariat claim that Oli believes that Melamchi Water Supply Project has been delayed due to Magar. She has also been accused of not being able to work on the issue of contracts for drinking water projects.
Dahal requested Oli to not sack his daughter-in-law and the latter obliged. It now turns out that the hastily issued statement by Dahal's secretariat slamming the media for linking him with Cabinet reshuffle and stressing that Cabinet reshuffle is prerogative of the PM was an attempt at distraction with Magar's post already saved.
Oli wielded the axe on his favorite Mahaseth, who he had nominated to the standing committee of the then UML even after losing in the election for central member, but had to yield to Dahal's request on Magar.
Labor Minister Bista was deemed to have unnecessarily delayed on the issue of sending workers to Malaysia, according to the appraisal by the Prime Minister's Office. Workers were not sent to Malaysia even a year after the agreement with the Malaysian government. Bista was adamant that the institution for health checkup of workers be changed but the Malaysia government did not oblige.
Bista was deemed to have done well on the issue of social security launched with much fanfare by PM Oli himself, and the PM self-employment program.
But he was accused of being confrontational during the Cabinet meeting and stubborn instead of looking for resolution of some of the issues. His nature may have cost him the ministerial position.
Many CPN leaders have raised questions about the recent Cabinet reshuffle. CPN leader Prabhu Sah has posted on Facebook that ministers have been selected on the basis of factionalism.
"Cabinet reshuffle was promised to be done on the basis of performance appraisal but seems was eventually done on the basis of factional bias and give-and-take. We have again been ashamed by this great act of the leadership to sack the deserving ones and making the undeserving ones minister," he has posted.