The Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal, which is a key player in the formation of the next government, held its office bearers' meeting today, but failed to decide who to side with -- CPN- UML or the Nepali Congress and the CPN-Maoist Centre.

NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba had held a meeting with the CPN-MC and the JSP-N on Friday and asked them to support his party to lead the next government, following which CPN-MC Chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal hoped that a new government would be formed within a few days.

JSP-N leader Keshav Jha said his party had begun discussion on the NC proposal to form the next government and the office bearers would continue dwelling on the issue.

JSP-N leader Rajendra Mahato said divergent views were expressed in the meeting today and hoped that a collective view would emerge soon on who the party should throw its weight behind.

Mahato and Mahantha Thakur are of the view that government should not be the party's priority. Their main concern is whether their demands are addressed. Upendra Yadav and Baburam Bhattarai, on the other hand, say that the party should be ready to aid the NC and the CPN-MC's effort to form the next government.

Mahato said the KP Sharma Oli-led government seemed positive on addressing their demands and the party should wait and watch, instead of rushing to form the new government.

Mahato said the party should wait for the CPN-MC to withdraw its support to the government.

"Once the process of forming a new government begins in the HoR, we'll then take a call on whether we should try to form the government under our leadership or some other party's leadership," Mahato added.

The JSP-N has been demanding that the government release party lawmaker Resham Lal Chaudhary, who has been indicted in Kailali carnage case. It has also asked the government to withdraw false cases slapped against its cadres and leaders, amend the constitution to address concerns of Madhesis and marginalised groups and communities, immediately pass the citizenship bill, and make public the Lal Commission report on killings of Madhesis in 2015.

CPN-MC Chief Whip Dev Prasad Gurung said his party would withdraw support to the government only after reaching an understanding among the parties that the HoR would not be dissolved before its full five-year term. "Oli still wants to dissolve the HoR. Withdrawal of support will give him a pretext to dissolve the HoR," Gurung said.

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