Party emerges key player in formation of next government


Top leaders of the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal today met Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and other senior CPN-UML leaders to demand that their party's cadres and leaders be released from jails, false cases filed against JSP-N cadres and leaders be withdrawn, and the constitution be amended to address the concerns of Madhesis and other marginalised communities.

JSP-N Co-chair Upendra Yadav said the PM reacted positively to their demands.

"We will see how the PM responds to our demands," Yadav said. He said formation of the next government or support to Oli-led government was not discussed.

Oli will have to step down if the UML's coalition partner CPN-MC withdraws support to the government.

Another JSP-N leader Laxman Lal Karna, who was also present in the meeting, said another member was likely to be added tomorrow to the two-member task force formed by his party to hold dialogue with the government task force from tomorrow.

Karna is a member of the JSP-N task force.

He said the JSP-N would discuss formation of the next government or whether to support Oli only after the party's demands were met.

Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Adviser Rajan Bhattarai tweeted that talks between the government and JSP-N were positive and both sides agreed to hold more talks.

JSP-N Central Committee member Keshav Jha told THT that JSP-N's parliamentary party had decided recently to support the party that would address its key demands. He said the party could extend support to Oli if he released party cadres and leaders, including Resham Chaudhary, from jails, make Lal Commission report public, and table the constitution amendment bill in the Parliament.

The UML has never supported Madhesis' demand for amending the constitution.

JSP-N wants to retain the Interim Constitution's provision related to citizenship in the new constitution.

JSP-N also wants identity-based federalism.

The government side was represented by Oli, Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokharel, Bishnu Bhattarai, Subas Chandra Nembang, and Shankar Pokharel, whereas the JSP-N side was represented by Karna Yadav, Mahantha Thakur, and Ashok Kumar Rai.

If the CPN-MC withdraws support to the Oli-led government, JSP-N with 34 members in the House of Representatives will be the key player in the formation of next government.

CPN-UML can retain its government if it gets the JSP- N's support.

If the CPN-MC and Nepali Congress want to form the next government, they can do so only with support of the JSP-N.

Top leaders meet

Five senior leaders of the JSP-N Mahantha Thakur, Rajendra Mahato, Upendra Yadav, Baburam Bhattarai, and Ashok Kumar Rai held a meeting to discuss which party the JSP-N should support to form the next government. Mahato said the top leaders decided to hold talks with the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and CPN-MC about formation of the next government. JSP-N parliamentary party meeting has been scheduled for Friday.

The party will hold its executive committee meeting on March 18 to discuss unification issues and contemporary politics.

There are two schools of thought in the JSP-N, with one faction saying that the party should join hands with the party that meets its demands and the other faction saying that the party should not support Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli's bid to remain in power.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 12, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.