Bagmati province government led by CPN-UML Vice-chair Ashta Laxmi Shakya fell into minority with 12 of 57 UML lawmakers defecting to the CPN(Unified Socialist). The UML now has only 45 lawmakers in the 110-member Bagmati Provincial Assembly.

Provincial and local representatives of the two political parties - CPN(US) and Democratic Socialist Party-Nepal - established as per the recent amendment in the Political Party Act through an ordinance, have until September 7 to choose between the mother parties and the new parties. The ordinance that lowered the threshold for splitting parties stipulated that parties' representatives in the provinces and local levels had 21 days to make their choice.

Shakya had formed the province government on August 18 after Dor Mani Paudel, who is close to UML Chair KP Sharma Oli, resigned from the post of chief minister, paving the way for Shakya to become the new CM. Shakya, who had always sided with Madhav Kumar Nepal in the UML, left him when he split the UML to register the CPN(US) on August 18. Shakya's elevation to the CM's post was seen as Oli's attempt to weaken the rival faction.

In the 110-member Bagmati PA, there are 109 members now and any party that wants to form the government requires the support of at least 55 lawmakers.

With 12 UML lawmakers defecting to CPN(US), Shakya's government has fallen into minority as her party now has only 45 members in the PA.

No other party has supported her government. The 12 UML lawmakers that chose CPN(US) are Rajendra Pandey, Munu Sigdel, Rama Ale Magar, Laxman Lamsal, Basundhara Humagain, Madhav Paudel, Basanta Manadhar, Parbati Silwal, Kusum Karki, Indramaya Gurung, Krishna Prasad Khanal, and Rajendraman Shrestha.

The UML government in Province 1 led by Bhim Acharya is also likely to fall into minority as 10 lawmakers are preparing to join the CPN(US).

Those PA members that are likely to defect to the new party are Rajendra Rai, Rajan Rai, Upendra Ghimire, Sabitra Regmi, Khinu Langwa Limbu, Ganesh Kangang, Krishna Kumari Rai, Padam Kumari Gurung, Sunita Chaudhary and Sarita Thapa.

In the 93-member Provincial Assembly, one seat remains vacant.

In this province, the UML has 51 members and will need support of at least 47 lawmakers to form the government.

The then chief minister Sherdhan Rai recently resigned to pave the way for Acharya to become the new CM. Acharya, who belonged to Madhav Kumar Nepal-Jhalanath Khanal faction of the UML in the past, left Nepal who had registered a new party.

Acharya's appointment as the new CM was seen as Oli's attempt to prevent many assembly members from joining the Nepal-led party.

A version of this article appears in the print on September 12021, of The Himalayan Times.