Print Edition - 2017-06-23 | News
Deuba’s PMO has yet to get the ball rolling
- Prime minister’s ‘easy-going’ style of working offers fodder for critics
Jun 23, 2017-
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has yet to get rolling even two weeks after Sher Bahadur Deuba assumed office as the prime minister. As a result, there is a serious lack of information concerning pressing matters.
The PMO consists of immediate staff of the prime minister as well as multiple levels of support staff who not only report to the executive head but also pass vital information regarding some major decisions, his meetings and other activities at the PMO.
The PMO team also includes advisers on foreign relations, press, economic, political, security and administrative matters among others, who facilitate the prime minister’s work.
But Prime Minister Deuba seems to have taken an extremely laidback approach when it comes to forming his “core team”. In the last two weeks, no vital information regarding PM Deuba’s activities or decisions have come out, except some pictures of him with visiting dignitaries and diplomats, which he usually posts on his twitter page (@DeubaSherbdr). The contents of the meetings were never released, as there is no PMO in place. The last update on the @PM_Nepal twitter handle was on June 8 when Deuba assumed office.
We hardly know about the prime minister’s meetings, an official said.
Several leaders of PM Deuba’s party, the Nepali Congress, said they have been repeatedly calling for appointing dedicated press, political and foreign relations advisers who could help him carry out his responsibilities in an effective manner.
“A dedicated team of staff can always help the prime minister to make prudent decisions, and we have been advising him to appoint advisers,” said Prakash Sharan Mahat, a close aide to Deuba.
But Deuba is learnt to have been considering forming his team only after the second phase of local elections scheduled for June 28.
For some, Deuba’s return to power—for a fourth time—amid political tensions and on the cusp of second phase of local elections, was no charm.
When he entered Singha Durbar after 12 years on June 7, he had got his plate full.
He succeeded Pushpa Kamal Dahal as the prime minister with only the first phase of local elections held in three provinces.
He inherited several outstanding issues like striking a bargain with the Madhes-based parties, amending constitution, holding local elections in the remaining provinces and conducting federal and national polls by January 21 from his predecessor.
Deuba may have assumed office at a precarious time, but he has an opportunity to prove himself as well as rewrite his blighted history, say political observers,
referring to his failure to hold elections in 2002 and 2005,
due to which then king Gyanendra had branded him “incompetent”.
In such a situation, Deuba should have rather launched a charm offensive without losing time, said a political analyst, adding that the sooner he sets up an effective team, the better it is for him.
Mahat, who was minister for foreign affairs in the erstwhile Dahal government, said at least press, foreign relations, political and economic advisers should have been appointed by now, as the prime minister must get updates on these issues regularly. But leaders within the NC say there’s nothing new about Deuba’s easy-going attitude. His decision to embark on a foreign trip right after then Maoist rebels’ launched the armed struggle in 1996 still continues to offer the fodder for his critics.
A Congress leader, who did not want to be named, said: “Forget the PMO, Deuba as the party president is yet to appoint a spokesperson for the party”.
Published: 23-06-2017 07:54