Samajbadi Party in informal talks with Rastriya Janata Party for mergerLeaders say the country needs an alternative political force to counter the traditional parties
Almost two months after Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum and Naya Shakti Party merged to form Samajbadi Party Nepal, the new party has intensified informal talks with the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal to form a strong alternative political force to the traditional parties.
To this end, Chairman of Samajbadi Party Nepal Upendra Yadav held a discussion with Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal's Rajendra Mahato in Janakpur last week.
According to Mahato, his meeting with Yadav was part of an ongoing informal talks to form an alternative party to counter the traditional parties that have long been dominating the national politics.
But, before the merger talks could take place in a formal setting, Mahato's party has demanded that the Samajbadi Party Nepal first leave the KP Sharma Oli-led government.
“Our major objective to form the alternative force is to start a movement against the government. We cannot do that if one of the parties remains in the government,” Mahato told the Post.
Though the two parties are yet to enter formal talks, most leaders are in favour of merger, Mahato said.
“We are currently at the intial stages of discussion for the unification."
Despite Mahato's claim that leaders from both parties are in support of the merger, some Janajati leaders in the Samajbadi Party Nepal have expressed concern that the issues of indigenous nationalities could be overshadowed by the Madhesi agenda if the two parties unite.
“There are concerns among the indigenous leaders that their issues could be undermined by the Madhesi agenda if Samajbadi Party Nepal and Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal were to unite," Govinda Chhantyal, a leader of Samajbadi Party Nepal, told the Post.
The Samajbadi Party Nepal (Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum at the time) had entered the government on June 1, 2018, following a three-point agreement with the erstwhile CPN-UML, led by Oli, and CPN (Maoist Centre), led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal; the UML and the Maoist Cenre formally announced their merger to form the Nepal Communist Party in May 2018.
One of the conditions set by the Sanghiya Samajbadi Fourm to join the government was making amendments to the constitution to address the concerns of the Madhesi community.
It's been more than 16 months since the Nepal Communist Party formed a government under Oli. So far, it has not taken any steps towards amdending the constituion, as per the agreement with Yadav's party.
Yadav is currently the minister for health and population as well as the deputy prime minister.
Rajendra Shrestha, the deputy leader of Samajbadi Party Nepal, had told Parliament recently that his party would quit the government if the process of amendment was not initiated in the ongoing budget session.
“We are waiting for the establishment to make its position clear on amending the constitution,” said Navaraj Subedi of Samajbadi Party Nepal.
Subedi is also part of the five-member team formed by the party to hold talks with the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal about the merger.
“Informal talks are going on at the top level of both the parties. The talks teams from the two parties will lead the formal discussion after the top leaders have settled the outstanding issues," Subedi told the Post.