KATHMANDU, Jan 14: The Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) have forwarded separate names for the post of governor of Province 2.
FSFN has proposed the name of Ratneshwar Kayastha while RJPN has proposed Umakanta Jha upon the request of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, who is holding discussions with various parties to appoint governors for all seven provinces.
The government is working to appoint the governors before the elections of the National Assembly slated for February 7. The governors' appointment would pave way for the formation of the provincial governments.
Despite Deuba's request to forward a consensus candidate, FSFN and RJPN, the two Madhes-based parties which jointly contested the elections, had put forth two different names. Both Jha and Kayastha are former bureaucrats and are currently active in politics.
Sources said that Jha, who is affiliated to RJPN, has been seen as the favorite for the post of governor of Province 2.
"Some leaders in NC have been lobbying for candidates close to the party. If Deuba decides to make appointment based on consensus, Jha has a better chance," said an RJPN leader.
The two parties' failure to pick a consensus candidate for governor comes at a time when leaders from both sides are undertaking intense lobbying to form their government in Province 2.
FSFN has been negotiating with various parties to form a government under the party's vice chairman Lal Babu Raut, while RJPN has projected Jitendra Sonal and Manish Kumar Suman as their chief ministerial candidate.
Both parties have been holding informal talks with major parties, while taking forward a parallel negotiation to form a coalition government of the two parties. Moderates in FSFN and RJPN have been lobbying to rotate the government. FSFN and RJPN, the first and second largest parties in Province 2 with 29 and 25 seats respectively, have a comfortable majority to lead the government and share a common stance on the constitution amendment.
FSFN Co-Chair Rajendra Shrestha said that they have not thought about rotation.
"So far, we have not taken any decision on rotating the government. But that could be an option," said Shrestha.
If the two parties fail to reach an agreement to rotate the government, they would have to join hands with bigger parties to form government.
"Though our first choice is to form a government with RJPN, we are still open to other possibilities," said an FSFN leader, adding that the party with hold talks with three major parties. RJPN, which earlier this month decided to take initiative to form its own government, is in talks with NC and Maoist Center.