One faction to join the govt, the other for revolt: Where is JSPN heading?

Janata Samjwadi Party leaders

Nishan Khatiwada

  • Read Time 3 min.

Kathmandu: Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal (JSPN) is a divided house. While Upendra Yadav and Baburam Bhattarai have stood for ousting Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and forming an alternative government, another faction led by Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato is almost sure to join the Oli-led government. They are negotiating with PM Oli for ministerial posts. 

On Monday, the Thakur-Mahato faction visited Baluwatar for a meeting to finalize the ministerial posts. They have been offered eight ministers and two state minister posts, only names have to be finalized. On the other hand, the Yadav-Bhattarai faction is leading the process of building a lasting alliance against the Oli government.

Each faction is seeking clarification from members of the other faction. Neither faction has responded to such clarification calls. The war of words continues.

The rift in JSPN follows the constitutional crime of dissolving the House of Representatives for the second time on May 21 by Prime Minister Oli and President Bidya Devi Bhandari. JSPN leaders belonging to Thakur-Mahati faction have supported the move. 

Since then the leaders of each faction have been claiming the official positions and justifying their moves.

Roshan Pokharel, a JSPN leader close to the Yadav-Bhattarai faction argues that the party will split if Thakur-Mahato faction does not abide by the party’s decision. He says if Mahantha Thakur and other leaders of his faction do not furnish satisfactory clarifications, then the executive committee will take further decision. “Party’s decision is to stand against the regressive KP Oli. If some leaders are going against the party’s stand, they have to bear the responsibility,” he said.

On the other hand, a JSPN leader close to Thakur-Mahato said they are ready for a tit-for-tat response.  “If they start punishing, we will punish them too. The punishment process goes on. When everyone is tired, we will either stand united or part ways,” said a Thakur-Mahato faction leader requesting not to be named. 

He described the present situation inside the JSPN as a result of the influence of the rivalry and conflicts in CPN-UML. “One faction of UML is in the government, the other faction is revolting. Its impacts have also reached JSPN,” he said. He believes that politics will take a definite course after the Supreme Court’s decision. 

What do they want? 

Both chairs–Mahantha Thakur and Upendra Yadav–had called the executive committee meeting for May 22 and 23, issuing a joint press statement. A day before the meeting, Mahantha Thakur issued a notice canceling the meeting citing the surge of the Covid pandemic as the reason. Then the Yadav-Bhattarai faction conducted the meeting in the absence of Thakur-Mahato faction, where 31 executive committee members were present, a clear majority, according to Pokharel. 

After the meeting, Dambar Khatiwada, the publicity department head issued a press statement stating the decisions of the meeting. The statement appealed to all the political parties, civil society, and general public to stand up against the unconstitutional move of House dissolution by the PM and the President.

Each faction is seeking clarification from members of the other faction. Neither faction has responded to such clarification calls. The war of words continues.

Thakur-Mahato faction has defended the House dissolution move. Laxman Lal Karna, a leader of Thakur-Mahato faction while talking to Nepal Live after the House dissolution had said that the House dissolution was not against the Constitution. 

The post-meeting scenes inside the party are even worse. Yadav-Bhattarai faction claimed all the leaders should abide by the decision of the meeting while the Thakur-Mahato faction has been denying and supporting KP Oli’s move. 

As per the party’s constitution, the executive committee is the decisive body of the party. “Every party member should abide by the decisions made by the majority in the committee,” Pokharel added. 

Ram Sahaya Prasad Yadav, a JSPN leader and lawmaker, claims the party stands against the government. “The clarification has been asked to Mahantha Thakur and other  leaders as part of the party’s decision to take action against those who support the Oli government,” he said. 

The official position of the party is to stand against the KP Oli’s government and displace it with an alternative government, he asserted. “Whoever goes against the party’s decision should offer clarification,” he added.