Yadav’s U-turn causes confusion among Samajbadi leadersSome suspect that RJP’s potential joining the Oli administration could weaken the party, forcing it to remain in the government despite disagreements.
On Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister and Law Minister Upendra Yadav’s Samajbadi Party has expressed serious dissatisfaction over the cabinet reshuffle without consulting the coalition partner claiming that was against the political spirit and culture of the joint government.
But after assuming the new ministry on Tuesday, Yadav’s statement took a U-turn, telling reporters that the prime minister need not consult with the ministers and can change the ministries as he likes.
“It’s the prime minister’s right to change the portfolios of his ministers,” Yadav told reporters.
Saturday’s meeting of the party’s central executive committee had also decided to hold talks with the ruling party and the government over its disagreement on the reshuffle and amendment of the constitution.
However, many of the party’s own leaders and cadres have been left wondering what has compelled Samajbadi Party to remain in Oli-administration despite a host of disagreements.
“I’m very confused and concerned why the party has to stick to the Oli government with a red face after so much disgrace,” said one central committee member close to senior leader Ashok Rai and co-chair Rajendra Shrestha. “It’s embarrassing.”
Yadav, according to leaders, has warned that the Rastriya Janata Party, which also has an equal number of Members of Parliament in the House of Representatives, could either join the federal government or break the existing coalition in Province 2, leaving his party in disarray and essentially weakened. The ongoing talks for merger with the RJP has also been stalled for some time because Samajbadi Party refused to quit the government.
One of its three general secretaries has claimed that the Rastriya Janata Party, which is in touch with KP Sharma Oli’s aides, could join the federal government, which could ultimately put the coalition government of Province 2 at a risk.
“It will be easy for the Rastriya Janata Party to join hands with Nepal Communist Party in Province 2 if we quit the government in the centre,” said a party leader requesting anonymity. “But we don’t think RJP could take such a suicidal step as the people have voted for the coalition government with us.”
With ruling Nepal Communist Party being the largest party in Province 2 with 32 seats, in contrast to Samajbadi Party’s 29 and RJP’s 25 seats, NCP has been trying to break the existing alliance. The NCP has its solo governments at all six provinces except Province 2. The two parties have been running a tight majority government with 54 seats in the province. Even a single member could cost Lalbabu Raut’s provincial government led by the Samajbadi Party.
But RJP leaders say Samajbadi Party’s claim that their party could join the Oli administration is nothing but a ploy to defame the party.
“Ruling NCP leaders have been reaching out to our party leaders for over a month,” said Keshav Jha, general secretary of Rastriya Janata Party. “But we have flatly rejected the proposal.”
Jha said his party has no intentions to join the government unless its leaders were released from prison, the constitution amendment process is initiated, and all the fake cases were withdrawn.
“I don’t think Oli government is ready for these three things,” Jha said. “So, our plan is to take to the streets even if the Samajbadi Party refused to join hands.”
The RJP leaders are more suspicious over the role of Yadav after he refused to sign an agreement prepared by leaders Mahantha Thakur and Baburam Bhattarai on November 12. According to Jha, the agreement was about expressing commitment for party unity to create a strong alternative force.
“Yadav would neither go for party unity nor leave the government,” Jha said.