Four Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal lawmakers from Mahantha Thakur-Rajendra Mahato faction today joined the Upendra Yadav-Baburam Bhattarai faction of the party.

Pramod Sah, Naramaya Dhakal, Amrita Devi Agrahari and Rani Mandal deserted the Thakur-Mahato group. Ram Sahay Yadav, a leader of the Yadav-Bhattarai faction told THT that the four lawmakers had expressed support to his faction as they were for party unity and some more lawmakers were likely to join Yadav and Bhattarai.

He said his faction now had majority in the parliamentary party and executive committee and expected the Election Commission to recognise it.

The EC had formed a bench to decide on the JSP-N authenticity row. The bench is conducting a hearing tomorrow.

Pramod Sah said the four of them had left the Thakur-Mahato faction because it supported former prime minister KP Sharma Oli, who had unconstitutionally dissolved the House of Representatives.

Sah said the Thakur-Mahato faction changed its stance against former PM Oli 10 days after the party had decided to launch protest against dissolution of HoR in December.

He said supporting Oli meant betraying the martyrs who had sacrificed for the cause of democracy.

Sah also said that he had told the JSP-N leadership that the party should join the Deuba government only after seeking its commitment to address Madhes issues, including issues of constitution amendment.

He added that the Thakur-Mahato faction had sent party lawmakers, who were holding other posts and had already been ministers in the past, to become ministers.

Sah said he had won parliamentary elections from a very challenging constituency defeating both the rival parties – CPN-UML and CPN-MC, and yet, Thakur and Mahato had not given him due space in the party.

Amrita Devi Agrahari said she was in favour of party unity and she personally believed lawmakers should try to ensure that the HoR completed its full fiveyear term.

While the Yadav-Bhattarai faction supports PM Deuba, the Thakur-Mahato faction has said it won't vote in favour of Deuba when he seeks vote of confidence.

Although media outlets reported that JSP-N lawmaker Ruhi Naz had also joined the Yadav-Bhattarai faction, she told THT that she was in her home district of Sarlahi and did not belong to any faction. She said she was for party unity. Lawmakers Rani Mandal and Naramaya Dhakal could not be contacted for comments.

The JSP-N had 34 members in the HoR, but two of them were suspended. Out of 32 remaining HoR members who can vote, 12 had supported Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba's bid for prime ministership under Article 76 (5).

The Thakur-Mahato faction had claimed that it had 20 HoR members.

Meanwhile Thakur, Sharat Singh Bhandari and Anil Kumar Jha today met former PM Oli at his residence.

The Thakur-Mahato faction leader Laxman Lal Karna said his party had already decided to support Oli, and unless the party changed that decision, his faction would stick to the decision.

He said his faction was still for party unity, but the Yadav-Bhattarai faction had rejected the possibility of unity.

The Yadav-Bhattarai faction has said that unity with Thakur-Mahato faction can happen only if it supports Deuba and apologises for supporting Oli in the past.

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