Election Commission updates central executive committee of Samajbadi PartyIn the new body, party chair Mahantha Thakur and his 15 supporters have not been included, pushing the party towards a split.
With the decision of the Election Commission to update the central executive committee of the Janata Samajbadi Party by including only the leaders of the Upendra Yadav-led group, Mahantha Thakur, who used to claim to be its first chair, has been stripped of party chairmanship.
“The Election Commission has updated the central executive committee of the Janata Samajbadi Party today,” said Raj Kumar Shrestha, spokesperson of the Election Commission. “The 51-strong central executive committee is now reduced to 35 members.”
With the decision of the Election Commission, the 16 members of the executive committee close to Thakur have been reduced to the party's ordinary members, further marginalising the faction with the possibility of their quitting the party.
After the Election Commission’s decision on July 26 to award the party reins to the faction led by its other chair Yadav after he garnered the support of 34 members, the Thakur-led faction has been seeking a legal solution from the Supreme Court.
Resham Chaudhary, who is in Dillibazar prison on charges of murder, had remained neutral during the head count at the Election Commission on July 26 but has now sided with Yadav and the Commission has accordingly updated the list of 35 central executive committee members.
Thakur went to the Supreme Court on July 30 for the second time demanding that the decision of the Election Commission to authenticate Yadav faction be halted until the final decision of the apex court.
The Thakur-led group with 16 members in the 51-strong central executive committee is busy with the cadres’ gatherings in different parts of the country with focus on Province 2, the stronghold of the party.
“Most of the cadres have suggested that they cannot trust Upendra Yadav and therefore a new party should be formed at the earliest,” said Sarbendra Nath Shukla, one of the senior leaders and a member of the central executive committee close to Thakur. “Now with the Election Commission’s decision the deck has cleared for us to form a new party.”
The Thakur faction has been waiting for the two decisions: the majority’s decision of the Janata Samajbadi Party ousting them from it and the Supreme Court’s final decision on the two petitions filed by Thakur which is yet to be made.
The Supreme Court on August 4 had refused to issue an interim order on Mahantha Thakur’s first petition against the Election Commission but has ordered the defendants— the Election Commission and Upendra Yadav—to furnish a written response to the petitioner’s demand within 15 days.
A single bench of Justice Prakash Man Singh Raut had ordered that both the writ petitions of Thakur be presented together but the date for the next hearing has not been announced.
“Actually we have been waiting for them [Upendra Yadav led group] to make a majority decision so that there wouldn’t be any blame on us for splitting the party,” Shukla said. “Now we will make a decision within the next two weeks as our leaders and cadres have been demanding that we finalise the name and election symbol of our new party right away.”
In a bid to test the ground the Thakur-led group has been organising gatherings of its cadres which will conclude by August 20.
“We will take the next move on forming another party after the Supreme Court’s final decision,” said Keshav Jha, a leader from the Thakur faction. “Actually we wanted to be clear on the status of our people’s representatives.”
There is confusion whether the people’s representatives of the Thakur led faction would keep their lawmaker positions if they formed another party without having 40 percent support in the central committee and the parliamentary party as required by the Political Parties Act-2017.
Meanwhile, Yadav has called a meeting of its executive committee for August 17 and 18 to take more decisions for the party including its plan to strengthen the party structures throughout the nation. Though Thakur has been stripped of his chairmanship, the provision of two chairs in the party statute has yet to be amended.