Attempt to break the ruling alliance?

Deuba intensifies talks with parties as PM Dahal prepares for trust vote in parliament

Published On: January 6, 2023 09:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Jan 5: As Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who is planning to seek a vote of confidence in parliament on January 10, has intensified negotiations with other parties, Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba is also quietly holding negotiations with the leaders of various parties that have supported the new government.

NC President Deuba, who is also a former prime minister, on Thursday held a meeting with Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) Chairman Upendra Yadav at his residence in Dhumbarahi. Sources said Deuba is holding negotiations to form an alternative alliance in parliament.

Leaders close to him said Deuba also held a meeting with CPN (Maoist Center) leader Janardan Sharma on Wednesday. The two leaders are said to have discussed evolving political scenarios and NC’s support to Dahal in case he fails to garner requisite majority seats in parliament.

Sources said Deuba had sent NC leader Krishna Sitaula and Purna Bahadur Khadka as his emissaries to hold a meeting with Prime Minister Dahal. NC senior leader Ram Chandra Poudel is also holding quiet negotiations with leaders of various coalition partners of the ruling alliance including CPN (Unified Socialist).

Dahal was appointed as the new prime minister on December 26 with the support of 169 parliamentarians including UML, Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Janta Samajwadi Party (JSP), Janamat Party,  Nagarik Unmukti Party and three independent lawmakers, in line with Article 76(2) of the Constitution of Nepal. As per the existing constitutional provision, a prime minister appointed under Article 76(2) needs to secure a vote of confidence in parliament within 30 days of the appointment. 

As of Thursday, there is no certainty whether the RPP and JSP will support Dahal during the trust vote in parliament on January 10. While JSP has said that it will join the government only if the party is given a dignified position in the government, RPP has also announced to support the Dahal-led government only after seeing the government's Common Minimum Program (CMP). 

While RPP has 14 members, JSP has a total of 12 members in parliament. Madhav Kumar Nepal-led CPN (Unified Socialist), which has 10 members in parliament, has also not made its position clear yet. “President Deuba is working to break the current alliance and form an alternative alliance. But that is less likely to yield any results as of now,” said a NC leader close to Deuba.

Dahal was appointed as prime minister with the support of 169 members in parliament. While the UML has a total 79 members including one independent lawmaker joining the party, the Maoist Center has 32 members in parliament. 

Similarly, RSP-led by Rabi Lamichhane has 20 seats and Janamat Party-led by CK Raut has six members.  This will bring a total 137 members to Dahal during the trust vote. Although two independent lawmakers are set to support Dahal during the vote of confidence to secure 138 votes, Prime Minister Dahal must do necessary homework to make sure that he has a comfortable majority in parliament so that his government will not be in jeopardy any time soon. 

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