KATHMANDU, Oct 19: The Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) is considering postponing the general convention yet again as a section of leaders make fresh push for merger with the Samajwadi Party Nepal (SPN).
RJPN leaders said they have been discussing the possibility of deferring the party’s maiden convention planned for November 14.
“Most of the presidium members are in favor of buying time until the conclusion of the ongoing merger talks with the Samajwadi party,” said a vice general secretary of the RJPN.
If deferred, this would be the second deferral since April when the party had postponed the general convention just weeks ahead of the scheduled date.
RJPN and SPN have been exploring the possibilities of merger since 2017. The two parties, although a formal negotiation is yet to start, are in informal negotiations to forge consensus on political and technical aspects of merger.
Many RJPN leaders are still hopeful of a breakthrough in merger given positive ‘body language of SPN leaders’ during cross-party negotiations.
RJPN leader Rajendra Mahato said that there was a possibility of merger if the SPN, an ally in the ruling coalition, walked out of the government. “They say they are ready to sever ties with the government, but it’s not happening. Just words aren’t enough. They should act,” said Mahato.
In the recent weeks, SPN leaders including its chairman Upendra Yadav are becoming more vocal about their displeasure with the government’s failure to amend the constitution. Yadav has said his party would quit the government if the government didn’t amend the constitution.
RJPN leaders see this as positive development that they believe could eventually pave the way for merger. But a merger won’t be a cakewalk even if SPN quits the government due to the need to accommodate the aspirations of various leaders.
Adjustment of senior leaders remains a big challenge particularly for RJPN because of their collective leadership model.
RJPN, the party which was formed ahead of the 2017 parliamentary elections by merging six regional fringe parties, hasn’t been able to hold a general convention even in two years. In June 2018, the Election Commission (EC) had asked RJPN to hold its general convention citing legal provision that each new party should elect the leadership by holding general convention within a year of its formation. The party, however, had requested the election body to give more time.