UML offers Janata Samajbadi what ruling alliance has refusedLeaders say deal is almost done and negotiations are focussed on individual constituencies.
The Upendra Yadav-led Janata Samajbadi Party was on the forefront of the protests against the then KP Sharma Oli government’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives twice—in December 2020 and May 2021.
The party also played an instrumental role in toppling the Oli government together with the Nepali Congress, the CPN (Maoist Centre) and then Madhav Nepal faction of the CPN-UML. It is a key partner in the incumbent Sher Bahadur Deuba government and contested the local elections in partnership with the four other ruling parties.
However, the year-and-a-half-old bond between the five parties is on the brink as the Janata Samajbadi, unhappy with the number of seats being offered by the coalition, has started electoral negotiations with the CPN-UML.
“We are close to a deal with the UML. There are few technical issues to sort out before the deal is sealed,” Manish Suman, the Janata Samajbadi Party spokesperson, told the Post on Friday night.
During negotiations with the alliance, the JSP, which has a strong hold on the Madhesh Province, had been demanding 25 seats, including 16 of the province’s total 32 seats. However, other alliance members refused to offer more than 16 seats. With no sign that it would get the sought number, Yadav turned to the UML.
The UML, which had no major partner for the November 20 polls, whole heartedly welcomed the party agreeing to the party’s demand for 16 seats in the Madhes Province.
The negotiations between the two parties intensified from Thursday evening after Yadav concluded that his party was not going to get the desired numbers of seats from the ruling alliance. He left the five-party meeting on Thursday to negotiate with the UML. And on Friday, the party skipped the ruling alliance’s meeting at Baluwatar.
Though the UML and the JSP claimed to have reached an agreement on Thursday itself, they were negotiating on Friday as well. Those privy to the negotiations say it is almost a done deal since the UML is ready to offer between 23 and 25 seats to the JSP. The two parties are currently discussing individual constituencies. “It has been agreed that the UML and the Janata Samajbadi Party will support each other in the federal and provincial assembly elections,” said an UML leader seeking to remain anonymous. “There will be a written agreement to this effect.” As the candidates need to file nominations on Sunday, the parties have to finalise the seat-sharing deal by Saturday.
In addition to the Janata Samajbadi Party, the UML is close to forging a partnership deal with the pro-monarchy Rastriya Prajatantra Party for the next month’s elections. “We have reached an agreement on seat sharing,” said Buddhi Man Tamang, a Rastriya Prajatantra Party senior leader. “The seat-sharing arrangement will be made public Saturday.”