KATHMANDU, July 19: Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) leader Rajendra Mahato has said that 'dubious stance' of the Samajbadi Party Nepal (SPN) was stopping the two parties from reaching a merger deal. Talking to Republica, Mahato said that SPN should choose between his party and the government if SPN was really serious about merger.
“They SPN has to first choose between us or the government. That's the minimum we are expecting before we can start serious conversations on merger. This dubious position is not helping the merger efforts,'' Mahato, an RJPN presidium member, told Republica.
Mahato's remarks come at a time when efforts to merge the two parties appear to be getting nowhere despite several rounds of informal negotiations.
Mahato, who held multiple rounds of talks with SPN leaders including deputy prime minister Upendra Yadav, said that SPN's failure to take a clear decision was responsible for the lack of progress.
“They say one thing and do just the opposite. Words alone are not enough if they are serious about merger,'' he said.
SPN leaders do not rule out possibility of quitting the government but insist that there should be some assurance of merger beforehand. SPN leader Ashok Rai said it was still too early to walk out of the government but said that it remains a possibility if talks on merger take a positive turn.
Mahato said he was still hopeful of a positive outcome from the ongoing deliberations if SPN came forward with an open mind on issues of organization, leadership and the government.
RJPN and SPN, a coalition partner in Province 2, had first initiated talks before the federal and parliamentary elections. But it failed to gain momentum due to infighting in the RJPN.
After a hiatus of a year, RJPN had formed a talks panel in March but the talks have moved in 'snail's pace' after the then Federal Socialist Forum Nepal and Naya Shakti Party Nepal merged to become SPN.
The possibility of merger between the two tarai-based parties has generated huge public interest particularly because they share the same constituency and similar agendas.