What is behind the rift inside the Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal?

Party insiders point to issues ranging from an unequal distribution of ministerial positions in the government to the recent ‘death threat’ by Renu Kumari Yadav against CK Raut.

Nishan Khatiwada

  • Read Time 3 min.

Kathmandu: The Janata Samajwadi Party Nepal (JSPN), already decimated to a smaller position after Mahatha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato faction broke away to form a separate Loktantrik Samajwadi Party (LSP) in August 2021, has become a divided house once again.  

Upendra  Yadav and Baburam Bhattarai, who agreed to lead the party as party chairman and federal council chairman respectively, have started to lock horns over a number of issues.

The rift between Yadav and Bhattarai has escalated after Yadav unilaterally proposed candidates for the National Assembly (NA) election, leaving Baburam Bhattarai and Ashok Rai distraught. Bhattarai and Rai have said that they will call a meeting of the party to discuss the matter if the party chair does not do so. Yadav is accused of not discussing party’s matters inside the party and making decisions unilaterally, leaving many other leaders dissatisfied. 

Disagreement was palpable between Yadav and Bhattarai during the time of making decisions regarding the choice of leaders for the post of ministers in the government led by Sher Bahadur Deuba, of which JSPN is a coalition partner.

After JSPN’s split in August last year, Bhattarai and Rai started their activities across the country and visited different districts under Sangathan Sudhridikaran Abhiyan (organizational enhancement campaign). Leaders close to Upendra Yadav were not happy about it.

A recent speech by Renu Kumari Yadav, who is the Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport in the government, has become a matter of debate in the party. On January 19, Renu Yadav had given a controversial speech threatening the Janamat Party chief CK Raut that the Gaur massacre may be repeated. 

According to the party insiders, leaders close to Bhattarai and Rai are demanding that the party should take action against her, while others are making comments about the incident rather cautiously.

“It was not necessary to speak about that subject [Gaur massacre] in a program organized by the party,” said Roshan Pokharel, a JSPN leader.

A recent speech by Renu Kumari Yadav, who is the Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport in the government, has become a matter of debate in the party. 

Renu Yadav’s threat has triggered widespread criticisms against her, against the government and against the party. The party has been criticized for maintaining silence over this grave issue. On January 22, JSPN issued a statement without mentioning the remarks made by Renu Yadav. The statement only condemns the act of the CK Raut-led Janamat Party. 

After continuous pressure from leaders close to Bhattarai and Rai, Upendra Yadav has spoken about the dissatisfaction. Yadav agreed that some party leaders are expressing their dissatisfaction and the issues will be discussed in the party Committee. “I have not seen problems in the party. Some friends are claiming there are problems. If so, it will be discussed in the party committee,” he said. 

Upendra  Yadav and Baburam Bhattarai, who agreed to lead the party as party chairman and federal council chairman respectively, have started to lock horns over a number of issues.

Pradip Yadav, a lawmaker from JSPN, said that all the decisions in the party should be collective and resolutions should be found from deliberation. According to him, there is a complaint in the party that the chairman makes unilateral decisions without discussing the matters with other leaders. “The goal of our party is to become an alternative force. Unilateral decisions will create hurdles in that mission. Party should honor all the clusters and be inclusive,” he said. 

Leaders close to Bhattarai also do not want to describe the situation as conflict. “Debates and discussions are taking place regarding the function and structure of the party in the party formation process,” said Pokhrel. “Election is at the doorstep. We are discussing whether we should practice the collective leadership approach before the election.”

Pokhrel does not want to describe the situation as conflict . “It’s not a conflict,” he said.

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