Leaders of the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal have ruled out any possibility of a split in the party.

A spectre of split hovers over the party as the vote of confidence motion tabled by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli last week has brought forth a rift between two prominent factions in the party.

The JSP-N faction led by Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato and the Upendra Yadav-Baburam Bhattarai faction had divergent views on whether the party should support the KP Sharma Oli-led government or help opposition parties form a new coalition government. That led many to believe that the party might suffer a vertical split.

JSP-N was created in April last year after the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal and Samajbadi Party-Nepal unified to form JSP-N.

Rift between the two factions widened recently when 15 lawmakers from the Thakur-Mahato faction stayed neutral when the trust motion tabled by Oli was put to vote in the HoR. Fifteen lawmakers from the Yadav-Bhattarai faction, however, voted against the motion.

But the Nepali Congress's attempt to form a coalition government under Article 76 (3) failed as the Thakur-Mahato faction refused to back the NC's proposal.

JSP-N leader Rajendra Mahato hopes that the party will not suffer a vertical split.

"Sometimes political events impact a party's unity, but there is no reason why the JSP-N should split. Should we split in the name of supporting the CPN-UML or the Nepali Congress?" he wondered.

Second rung leaders of the party also say that despite differences between the two factions, no faction will go to the extent of splitting the party.

JSP-N leader Manish Kumar Suman said that although the party was divided over the proposed support to Oli, no leader of the party was ready to split the party because there was no ideological dispute within the party. "We have seen the fate of splinter groups in other parties. Those factions that split from mother parties, faced debacle in polls be it Madhesi parties or CP Mainali-led CPN-ML," said Suman.

He said the two parties had unified since they had the same political agenda and the same vote bank. He hoped that differences between the two factions would disappear after the first general convention of the party.

Suman said divergent views in the party were due to different political backgrounds of its leaders. Thakur and Mahato come from democratic backgrounds, whereas Yadav and Bhattarai come from left backgrounds.

Another JSP-N leader, Brikhesh Chandra Lal, said top leaders should settle their differences amicably as soon as possible.

"To stay united, party leaders should stay neutral and not support any party," he said.

JSP-N leader Ram Sahay Yadav, who is close to Upendra Yadav, said second rung leaders had advised party leaders to settle their differences and keep party unity intact.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 18, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.