UML MPs close to Nepal, Khanal defer plan to resign en masse


The Nepali Congress, which had planned to stake claim to form a coalition government as per Article 76 (2) of the constitution, decided today not to do so after the faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal led by Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato refused to back the NC.

Joint General Secretary of NC Prakash Sharan Mahat told mediapersons after the party's office bearers' meeting that they decided not to stake claim to form the next government as the Thakur-Mahato faction of the JSP-N refused to back the NC and the Madhav Kumar Nepal-Jhalanath Khanal faction of the UML did not resign en masse from the Lower House.

"It will be futile to stake claim for the PM's post when we cannot muster enough support,"

Mahat said. He said his party's leaders talked to JSP-N leaders, but the Thakur-Mahato faction stuck to its stance of not supporting efforts to form a coalition government. Mahat, however, said that the Upendra Yadav faction of the JSP-N was ready to support the NC.

JSP-N has 34 members in the HoR, but two members were suspended. Out of 32, 15 stayed neutral on Monday, 15 voted against Oli's vote of confidence motion, and two didn't attend the session as they had contracted COVID.

Nepali Congress and CPN-MC have 61 and 49 members in the Lower House, respectively.

Mahat said it would be inappropriate for Oli to stake claim to form the next government under Article 76 (2) as he had failed to win the confidence vote. Article 76 (2) says in cases where no party has a clear majority in the HoR, the president shall appoint as prime minister a member of the HoR who can command majority with the support of two or more parties in the House.

Oli held talks with Nepal today in an attempt to win his confidence.

After his meeting with the PM at a private residence in Budhanilkantha, Nepal told mediapersons that UML lawmakers close to him had put off their plan to quit en masse for up to four days, as his talks with Oli today went well. Nepal said the PM had agreed to form a task force to address their concerns. Nepal urged Oli to revive all party structures and committees that existed before the UML's merger with the CPN-Maoist Centre.

The CPN-MC also held its standing committee meeting and decided not to opt for forming the next coalition government under Article 76 (2) as the JSP-N remained divided on the issue. Asked if they felt betrayed by Nepal and UML lawmakers close to him, CPN-MC Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha said, "We do not want to conclude so at this stage."

CPN-MC and NC were expecting 28 UML lawmakers close to Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal to resign from the HoR en masse.

On Monday, 28 UML lawmakers had abstained from voting when Oli sought a vote of confidence.

When asked why JSP-N didn't support the NC, Rajendra Mahato said they wanted their political demands addressed first. "We can think of other things only after that."

A version of this article appears in the print on May 14, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.