After the tables turned in Gandaki and Lumbini provinces, attention has now moved on to other provinces as far as leadership change is concerned.

Province 1 is one among the remaining provinces that has drawn attention with the recent political developments at the centre. As a result, the term of the government of Province 1 hangs in the balance thanks to the CPN-UML split and the subsequent formation of CPN (United Socialist) party led by Madhav Kumar Nepal.

UML leader Sherdhan Rai was appointed chief minister of the province on 14 February 2018. He defeated Bhim Acharya with 26 votes against Acharya's 24 in the parliamentary party leader election.

One vote was disqualified.

After three-and-a-half-years in office, CM Rai's chair hangs in the balance as is the case with his party CPN-UML itself. To continue in office, CM Rai needs at least 47 votes, which is still a distant possibility given the uncertain trend of defection at the federal Parliament.

As of today, three members of Provincial Assembly have tilted towards Madhav Nepal's newly founded party. They include Rajendra Rai from Bhojpur Constituency 1 (1), Ganesh Kumar Kambang of Panchthar Constituency 1(1) and Rajan Rai of Khotang Constituency 1(1).

Rajendra Rai, however, claims they can garner up to 15 members at the last minute.

Buddhi Kumar Rajbhandari, nonetheless, claims that CPN- UML will continue to rule the province with the required majority.

''Our leaders have learnt from past party splits, therefore, we will have enough seats to continue with our government,'' claimed Rajbhandari.

In the 93-member Provincial Assembly, there are only 92 members as the CPN-Maoist Centre had expelled its former parliamentary party leader Tanka Angbohang after he defected to CPN- UML. Currently, CPN-UML, Nepali Congress, CPN-Maoist Centre have 51, 21 and 15 members respectively. Likewise, People's Socialist Party has three, while RPP and Limbuwan have one each.

To continue the government with the required 47 members will be impossible if more than four members from the CPN- UML defect to the new party.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 26 2021, of The Himalayan Times.