KATHMANDU, Oct 5: The NC and UML are making last-ditch efforts to bolster their respective alliances -- the left alliance and the 'democratic' alliance -- by bringing the Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN), the last remaining party yet to take sides in the current political polarization.
FSFN is the fourth largest political party in terms of seats won in the local polls.
Both alliances appear keen to bring the FSFN into their fold due to its strong performance in the local polls. The party had won 35 seats in the local polls. In addition to that, FSFN Chairman Upendra Yadav remains one of the most influential names among Madhesi leaders.
By bringing Yadav to its side, the NC-led alliance would not only save the government but also strengthen its presence and secure electoral interests in the provincial and parliamentary election slated for November 26 and December 7.
Even as the Maoist Center has promised to back the current government until the upcoming elections, NC leadership is under pressure to sever ties with the Maoist Center. A meeting of NC's central working committee on Tuesday had suggested to party president and prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to either dissolve the government or find a new partner for the ruling coalition.
UML led left alliance still remains hopeful of FSFN's participation in the camp. FSFN's participation in the left alliance would not only bolster the left alliance's relatively weak presence in the terai plain, home to more than 40 percent voters, but also rob off the ruling coalition of required majority to keep coalition intact without Maoist Center.
Realizing desperation on the both sides, FSFN is carefully weighing pros and cons of joining either of the two alliances. The delay tactics has also increased his bargaining power.
"We are at the midpoint now. The party will soon decide whether to turn left or right from here on," Upendra Yadav told Republica.
FSFN leaders close to Yadav said the party would see what comes up at the negotiating table before joining any alliance. However, they hinted that there is strong possibility of the party joining the NC-led alliance. There are three reasons for this. One, NC looks more flexible on the issue of constitution amendment. Two, the democratic alliance has relatively stronger support in tarai districts, the party's prime support base. This would eventually benefit the party in the elections. Three, joining left alliance would also make the party a strong contender for the home ministry if the cabinet gets reshuffled.
Owing to this confusion, FSFN has sent a member in the NC-led alliance formed to hammer out deal on electoral seats distribution while continuing negotiation with the left alliance.
"Negotiations are underway with both the alliances. But a majority of leaders believe that the party would benefit more in partnership with NC," said an FSFN leader.