KATHMANDU, July 2: The Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) and Samajbadi Party Nepal (SPN) have intensified informal negotiation for merger. Leaders said that interlocutors from two sides have held several rounds of discussion in the recent weeks to prepare groundwork for merger although a formal talk is yet to kick off.
RJPN and SPN, which run a coalition government in Province 2, have been exploring possibility of unification ever since the two parties jointly contested elections in the federal and parliamentary elections in 2017, but with little success.
Leaders from both parties have, in principle, agreed on a need for merger in view of similarity in their political agenda and common constituents. But they share fundamental differences over other issues including the modality of merger.
RJPN has said that a merger with SPN was unlikely until the latter quits the KP Oli government and also withdraws its support to the government.
After ruling out such possibilities for months, SPN leaders have reportedly hinted that they will quit the government if there is further delay in addressing the demand for amending the constitution.
In recent weeks, especially after its merger with the Baburam Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Nepal, SPN leaders including Chairman Upendra Yadav and Co Chair Rajendra Shrestha have been holding talks with RJPN presidium members, especially Rajendra Mahato. Mahato leads a five-member talk team formed the party.
RJPN leader Brishesh Chandra Lal said that a merger was still a distant possibility. “Merger is possible only under two circumstances: either they have to withdraw support to the government or we have to join the government,'' said Lal. Given that RJPN was almost unlikely to join the government, Lal said that the ball was now in the SPN court.
RJPN has also been reaching out to smaller ethic-based parties to form a coalition which would push for political rights of various marginalized and excluded groups. The alliance seeks to fight for the rights of Madhesi, Dalit and indigenous communities, while defending the historic achievements including federalism and secularism.
Some of the parties involved in the talks include Tarai Tharuhat Party led by Bhanu Ram Tharu and Limbuwan Party Chair Kumar Lingden.