Janata Party likely to get Deputy Speaker as part of a broader package dealThe party is demanding constitutional amendments and the release of its cadres, which the ruling party is likely to provide as it looks to expand into Province 2.
With the Samajbadi Party quitting the KP Sharma Oli-led government, new political dynamics are emerging, as the ruling Nepal Communist Party and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal are in negotiations for a broader package deal.
The Janata Party, which has 16 seats in the federal parliament, leads a coalition government with the Samajbadi Party in Province 2, where the ruling party is looking to expand its reach.
Janata Party leaders have been saying that a potential alliance with the ruling party depends on a larger package deal, which could begin with the post of Deputy Speaker. After Krishna Bahadur Mahara’s resignation in early October, the ruling party is trying to install one of its leaders, most likely Subas Nembang, as Speaker by asking Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahangphe to resign in return for a ministerial berth.
A close aide to Tumbahangphe told the Post on condition of anonymity that she is preparing to resign on Thursday. “But there has been no decision yet on her joining the Cabinet,” said the aide.
Oli could then offer the Janata Party the post of Deputy Speaker. At least two leaders from the Janata Party said that Chanda Chaudhary would be the most probable candidate for the position.
Rajendra Mahato, chairman of the Janata Party’s six-member presidium, said that the party is ready with its candidate if it is given the post of Deputy Speaker.
“As the ruling party cannot keep both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker posts, it may approach us,” Mahato told the Post. “But no deal has been made yet to this effect.”
Another leader from the party, who did not wish to be named, said that informal negotiations with the ruling party are ongoing in favour of Chaudhary as Deputy Speaker.
But that alone will not be enough for the Janata Party, which is eyeing a bigger deal.
The party withdrew support to the government in March after a district court handed a life sentence to its lawmaker Resham Chaudhary in relation to the August 2015 Tikapur violence in which nine people were killed.
“Chaudhary’s release and constitutional amendments are major issues that the Janata Party wants in the larger deal,” the leader said.
The Janata Party’s relationship with the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) will depend on how the government responds to the former’s demands for constitutional amendments and the withdrawal of cases against its leaders and cadres, said Mahato.
“The new development marks an end to the period of no dialogue,” Mahato told the Post.
Leaders said the ruling party is positive about both demands. If negotiations go well, the Nepal Communist Party and the Janata Party could form a new government in Province 2, according to the leaders.
Everything, however, will depend on how negotiations unfold in the coming days.
The ruling party, which has already forged an alliance with the Janata Party for elections to the National Assembly, is likely to attempt to expand its influence in Province 2, the only province where it doesn’t lead the government.