Government formation in Province 1 gets complex as JSP leaves allianceJanata Samajbadi chair Uprendra Yadav has said that his party is no longer with the UML-led alliance.
Formation of a new government in Province 1 hangs in the balance as the Janata Samajbadi Party has hinted it’d walk out of the alliance forged for the November 20 election.
The CPN-UML was all set to lead the provincial government as the poll alliance of the UML, Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) and the JSP garnered a majority in the provincial assembly. However, uncertainty looms large as JSP Chairman Upendra Yadav said that the alliance with the UML was over with the completion of the November 20 vote.
“Our party partnered with the UML for some seats during the election but it was not an alliance or a front,” Yadav told reporters in Biratnagar on Sunday. “We supported the UML in some constituencies and they supported us in others. But the alliance is over after the completion of the elections.”
Yadav’s remark regarding the electoral alliance comes at a time when the UML was preparing to form the government in the province. The UML-RPP-JSP alliance would have a clear majority in the 93-member provincial assembly of Province 1.
The scenario of the provincial legislative body is almost clear as the Election Commission completed vote counting under both the first-past-the-post (FPTP) and Proportional Representation (PR) electoral systems. The UML, RPP and JSP have 47 seats combined, while the five-party alliance led by the Nepali Congress has 46 seats. However, the Election Commission is yet to declare the PR seats officially.
In the province, the UML emerged as the biggest party, both in the FPTP and PR. Of the total 56 FPTP seats in 14 districts of the province, the UML won 25 seats while the Congress got victory in 17 seats. CPN (Maoist Centre), CPN (Unified Socialist) and the RPP won nine, three and two seats, respectively.
Under the PR votes, the UML, Congress, RPP, Maoist Centre, JSP and Unified Socialist crossed the 1.5 percent threshold in Province 1. The UML emerged as the largest party under the PR as well by securing 665,460 votes. Similarly, Congress obtained 562,956, RPP 198,511, Maoist Centre 181,245, JSP 61,723 and Unified Socialist secured 55,957 votes.
As per the existing provisions of seat allocation, the UML gets 15 seats while the Congress bags 12 seats. The RPP and Maoist Centre each get four and the JSP and the Unified Socialist get one each seat.
In the provincial assembly, the UML has won a total of 40 seats under both FPTP and PR electoral systems combined while the Congress, Maoist Centre, RPP, Unified Socialist and JSP have 29, 13, 6, 4 and 1 seats, respectively. JSP’s one seat is decisive in forming the provincial government.
The UML has been trying to convince the RPP and JSP to form the government. “Our party has been holding talks with other parties of the electoral alliance regarding the formation of a new government,” said Hikmat Karki who was elected to the provincial assembly from Jhapa-5 (1). “The UML, as the largest party, will certainly lead the coalition government.”
Karki, who is close with UML chairman KP Sharma Oli, is considered to be the main contender for chief minister. He is a standing committee member of the party and former provincial Minister for Internal Affairs and Law. “The new government will soon finalise the name of the province,” Karki said. UML politburo member Til Kumar Menyangbo and central member Ram Bahadur Magar are also eyeing the post of chief minister in the province.
Meanwhile, the ruling alliance led by the Congress has also been trying to form the government in the province. A leader of the ruling party alliance, preferring anonymity, said that the Congress was in contact with the RPP and the JSP regarding the formation of the new government. “We are quite confident that the RPP and the JSP will join the new government under the leadership of the Congress,” he said.
Provincial Minister for Internal Affairs and Law Kedar Karki, Congress central members Pradeep Kumar Sunuwar, Arit Prasad Aryal and Bhim Parajuli, party’s Province 1 President Uddhav Thapa and provincial general secretary Bhupendra Rai are aspiring to be chief minister from the Congress.
In the first provincial assembly, the UML won 51 seats while the Congress and Maoist Centre won 21 and 16 seats, respectively. Likewise, the JSP won 3 seats, and the RPP and Sanghiya Loktantrik Rastriya Manch each won one seat. The then ‘left alliance’ led by the UML had a two-thirds majority in the provincial assembly but its government collapsed with the split of the UML after three and half years. Province 1 got three chief ministers—Sherdhan Rai, Bhim Acharya and Rajendra Kumar Rai—in the first provincial assembly.