KATHMANDU, June 4: Rastriya Janata Party Nepal has hinted at extending conditional support to Nepali Congress president and prime ministerial candidate Sher Bahadur Deuba but dismissed possibility of joining the government.
A day after Deuba made formal request to support him, RJPN top guns agreed to support him once they secure fresh commitment from the ruling alliance to fulfill their demands.
RJPN, which was formed a few months ago after merger between six Madhes-based parties, is the fifth largest party with 25 seats in parliament.
RJPN leaders said that the party's meeting decided to vote for Deuba if the ruling alliance gives credible assurance to work as per the three-point agreement reached with the then United Democratic Madhesi Front.
The party has not yet made the decision public. RJPN leaders said that a final decision would be made only after securing assurance from the ruling parties on their demands.
"We have informed that we are ready to support him if he is willing to work as per the past agreement. An appropriate decision would be taken after analyzing the proposal they put forth to address our concerns," said RJPN leader Laxman Lal Karna. He did not specify details of assurance the party is seeking.
Even if the RJPN stays away from the prime ministerial election, Deuba, the sole candidate for prime minsiter, has required majority in parliament for getting elected. He has support of the CPN (Maoist Center) and Nepal Loktantrik Forum. Similarly, Kamal Thapa-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Upendra Yadav-led Federal Socialist Forum Nepal have also announced to support Deuba.
However, leaders said that RJPN's absence during the vote in parliament could be a symbolic and strategic loss for the Deuba government, according to observers. RJPN had played a crucial role in the formation of the NC-Maoist Center alliance though it withdrew the support given to Prime Minister Puhspa Kamal Dahal earlier this year accusing him of not showing expected sincerity toward fulfilling their demands.
RJPN leader Anil Kumar Jha told Republica that a final decision would be taken after seeing the response of the ruling alliance.