Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal leader Mahantha Thakur suffered another political blow today with the Supreme Court refusing to stay the Election Commission's decision to recognise Upendra Yadav-Baburam Bhattarai faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal as the authentic party.

Mahantha Thakur had challenged the EC's July 26 decision to give legitimacy to the Yadav-Bhattarai faction saying that if the EC's decision was not stayed, it would split the party.

A division bench of Justices Deepak Kumar Karki and Ananda Mohan Bhattarai observed that there was no need to issue interim order in the case as the questions raised by Thakur could be decided in the final hearing. The court also observed that Thakur would not suffer irreparable loss if the court did not stay the EC's decision.

Thakur had argued that the EC's decision to recognise the Yadav-Bhattarai faction as the authentic party was erroneous, as its application lacked the support of 40 per cent executive committee members.

On July 26, 34 out of 51 executive committee members supported the Yadav-Bhattarai faction during a support verification process prompting the EC to recognise the Yadav-Bhattarai faction as the authentic party.

Only 16 executive committee members supported the Thakur-Mahato faction.

The factional feud in the JSP-N had intensified after leaders of the Thakur-Mahato faction supported KP Sharma Oli's bid for prime ministership under Article 76 (5) of the constitution and the Yadav-Bhattarai faction supported Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba's bid for prime ministership under the same article.

Yadav-Bhattarai faction lawyer Senior Advocate Mithilesh Kumar Singh told The Himalyan Times that the Thakur-Mahato faction had the option of opening a separate party and if they chose to remain in the JSP-N they should abide by the party's whip and if they defied it, then they could lose their seats in the elected body.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 17 2021, of The Himalayan Times.