Mahantha Thakur is cozying up to Prime Minister Oli but other JSPN leaders object

Nishan Khatiwada

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: On March 23, Janata Samajwadi Party-Nepal (JSPN) Co-chair Mahantha Thakur and three other leaders met Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli at the latter’s residence in Baluwatar.

Since this meeting, Mahantha Thakur, who appeared to be a fierce critic of PM Oli and who projected the PM as being anti-Madhesh and anti-Madheshis, has been speaking in support of PM Oli. Thakur, who is a towering political figure from Tarai Madhesh, has publicly announced not to go against Prime Minister Oli and his government.

Other leaders from his party, however, have taken exception to Thakur’s overtures to PM Oli.

Most JSPN leaders Nepal Live Today spoke to said that they stand opposed to Prime Minister Oli’s regressive move, the party has not made an official decision about the matter and that the growing proximity between PM Oli and Thakur is detrimental to the party.

Roshan Pokharel, a JSPN leader, said the JSPN always stands against Oli’s regressive move and the party should never be linked with the regressive forces.

“If anyone in our party is meeting and negotiating with KP Oli in their own way, they need to answer the questions being raised about such negotiations and meetings,” he said.

There is a visible divide in JSPN in terms of its position regarding Prime Minister Oli and the government.

While JSPN leaders like Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato seem to stand in favor of KP Oli’s government and are regularly negotiating with the prime minister, leaders like Baburam Bhattarai and Upendra Yadav have openly stood against, demanding his resignation.

With 34 seats in federal parliament, JSPN is a kingmaker in sustaining or toppling down the Oli government.

There is a visible divide in JSPN in terms of its position regarding Prime Minister Oli and the government.

Pradip Yadav, JSPN member of the House of Representatives from Parsa-1, resents the move of Mahantha Thakur.

“It makes no difference who cozies up to whom until the party takes the official decision,” he said adding that personal level meeting and negotiation is not good for the party and the country.

Mahantha Thakura and PM Oli used to stand poles apart on a number of political issues. While Thakur advocated for only-Madhesh province during the constitution promulgation, PM Oli strongly opposed the idea. Since the meeting on March 23, they seem to be closer to each other than ever before.

The engagement most probably means both of them can’t ignore the national interests, observes political analyst Hari Roka. “But will KP fulfill the demands of Mahantha Thakur? That needs to be answered by Thakur,” he said.