JSP-Nepal decides against issuing whip to its lawmakers


Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli is set to lose the vote of confidence, with the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal deciding not to support the motion.

Hours after Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato of the Janata Samajbadi Party-Nepal told Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba that they wanted JSP-N to remain neutral in the House of Representatives tomorrow when Oli seeks a vote of confidence, a meeting of the JSP-N office bearers, including Mahato and Thakur, decided not to issue whip to party lawmakers.

Mahato told THT that the decision not to issue whip to party lawmakers was taken to save party unity. Mahato and Thakur say the party should support the Oli-led government if it addresses JSP-N's demands, whereas Upendra Yadav and Baburam Bhattarai say the party should help topple the Oli-led government and form the next coalition government.

After Mahato and Thakur's meeting with Deuba and Oli, JSP-N office bearers met at Bhattarai's residence. According to Mahato, party leaders agreed not to support the PM's vote of confidence motion, but if any party lawmaker wanted to vote against the motion, s/he was free to do so.

JSP-N Chair Upendra Yadav said the decision not to issue whip was taken to manage the differences seen in the party with regard to the formation of the next government.

The JSP-N has 34 lawmakers in the HoR, of which two were suspended. The CPN-UML has 121 members in the 275-member House of Representatives.

Without the JSP-N's support, the PM won't be able to win the vote of confidence, as the Nepali Congress has already decided to vote against the motion.

Moreover, the Yadav-Bhattarai faction of the JSP-N, which has 17 lawmakers, is set to vote against the motion.

The PM fell into minority after the Maoist Centre withdrew support to the government.

Mahato told THT that the PM sought the JSP-N's support in the floor test, but he and Thakur told him that since the government had not fulfilled all the JSP- N's demands, the party could not support him. The two leaders also told the PM that since the government had addressed some of the party demands and was trying to address the remaining demands, they were of the view that they should not vote against the PM and should rather remain neutral.

NC President Deuba told Thakur and Mahato that as opposition parties, both NC and the JSP-N should defeat the PM's floor test. However, the two JSP-N leaders told Deuba that they had decided to stay neutral for the sake of party unity.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 10, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.