Janata Samajbadi Party leaders hold talks with Oli; Maoist Centre undecided on withdrawing support to governmentThe meeting at Baluwatar comes after the Congress party’s position that it is in no hurry to lead the government.
A group of leaders of the Janata Samajbadi Party are holding talks with Prime Minister and CPN-UML chair KP Sharma Oli at Baluwatar in an attempt to reach a power-sharing deal, just as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) remains undecided on withdrawing its support to the government.
Samajbadi Party chair Mahantha Thakur, senior leader Rajendra Mahato, members of a task force formed by the party–Sarbendra Nath Shukla and Laxman Lal Karna–reached the prime minister’s residence this morning, sources said.
Both the UML and the Samajbadi Party had formed talks team to discuss a power-sharing alliance after the Supreme Court on scrapped the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and revived its constituents, the UML and the Maoist Centre, on March 7, about two weeks after the Constitutional Bench overturned Oli’s House dissolution move.
Subhas Nembang, deputy leader of UML’s Parliamentary Party, Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel and Oli's foreign relations adviser Rajan Bhattarai are the members from the UML side in the task force.
“Party chair Thakur and members of the taskforce are in Baluwatar to hold talks with the ruling party,” Keshav Jha, a central member of the Samajbadi Party, told the Post.
A section of leaders of the Janata Samajbadi Party, which was formed in April last year after the merger of Sanghiya Samajbadi Party and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal, has shown willingness to support Oli, provided that the latter agrees to their demands.
The Samajbadi Party has made release of its lawmaker Resham Chaudhary from jail, withdrawing of court cases against its leaders and cadres and constitutional amendments its precondition to support Oli.
Upendra Yadav, another chair of the party, and Baburam Bhattarai, the federal council chair of the party, however, have been reluctant to support Oli.
Both are not present at Tuesday’s Baluwatar meeting.
“They, however, are very much aware of the ongoing meeting,” said another Samajbadi Party leader.
A power-sharing deal is likely to entail the post of deputy Speaker and some ministerial berths to the Samajbadi Party, according to insiders in the UML.
“In that case, the Samajbadi Party may propose Renu Yadav for the post of deputy Speaker,” the Samajbadi Party leader told the Post.
Instead of resigning on moral grounds after the court overturned his House dissolution move, Oli has been making attempts to cling on to power.
Oli was elected prime minister with the support of the Maoist Centre in February 2018. The UML and the Maoist Centre merged to form the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) in May 2018. But the court on March 7 revived them.
The moment the Maoist Centre withdraws its support to the government, Oli will have to seek a vote of confidence within 30 days in the House.
With the Nepali Congress, the second largest force in the House with currently 61 seats, refusing to make any move, Oli, whose UML has 120 seats, is trying to rope in the Samajbadi Party, which currently commands 31 seats in Parliament.
The Maoist Centre on Tuesday held consultations with some legal experts including Shambhu Thapa, Mukti Pradhan, Ram Narayan Bidari, Dinmani Pokhrel and Chandeswor Shrestha on filing a review petition on the March 7 court decision to scrap the Nepal Communist Party (NCP).
Dev Gurung, a Standing Committee member and Chief Whip of the Maoist Centre, said that the party on Tuesday morning held an information meeting of the Standing Committee.
“We consulted with some legal experts to know if Oli could go for yet another House dissolution,” Gurung told the Post. “Oli has been trying to prove that the current House has become irrelevant by not giving any business. We are in the consultation phase.”
Gurung said that the meeting also decided to hold talks with the Nepali Congress and Janata Samajbadi Party once again to know whether they want to save the Parliament or go for elections.
The Nepali Congress has maintained that time is not ripe for leading the government, hence it is in no hurry to make any move now.
Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba said on Tuesday that his party won’t form a government now.
“The Nepali Congress is a party in the opposition and it will maintain that position,” Deuba told reporters in Biratnagar.
Deo Narayan Shah contributed reporting from Biratnagar.