KATHMANDU, Feb 2: The Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) led by Rabi Lamichhane has threatened to quit the government after two days if the party is denied the home ministry portfolio as per the agreement reached earlier among the ruling coalition partners.
A meeting of the party held in the capital on Thursday evening decided to wait for two days to see if Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal is ready to meet their demand. RSP’s Spokesperson Mukul Dhakal said they have decided to wait for two days as per the request made by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Coordinator of the High Level Political Mechanism, KP Sharma Oli.
“We have received phone calls from Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Coordinator of High Level Political Mechanism, KP Oli. They have asked us to wait for two days. We have agreed to wait for two days as per their request,” said Dhakal after the meeting.
Earlier, chairman of Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) Rajendra Lingden had also requested RSP not to take any decision to quit the government. RPP is also one of the key coalition partners in the Dahal-led government. A meeting of the High Level Political Mechanism is scheduled to be held within the next two days.
Dhakal further said that they decided to wait for two days before taking a final decision as the top leaders of the ruling alliance have assured them to settle the issue through a meeting of the High Level Political Mechanism. “We expect honesty from all political parties in the ruling alliance,” he said.
Sources said the majority of Central Committee members and lawmakers belonging to the party have argued that they should quit the government and work toward expanding the party organization instead of staying in the government in a humiliating manner. They have argued that Prime Minister Dahal had tried to humiliate the party and party’s top leadership by denying the home ministry portfolio even as an agreement to this effect was reached earlier.
RSP is the third largest party in the ruling coalition. Accordingly, RSP was given four ministerial portfolios including the home ministry. RSP Chairman Rabi Lamichhane, who held the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, had stepped down following the apex court’s decision to scrap his membership of parliament over his citizenship row.
Although Lamichhane renewed his citizenship certificate, which he had not taken even as he obtained US citizenship after renouncing Nepali citizenship, he still faces a case related to his passport, which he obtained through the Nepali citizenship he had renounced earlier.
Prime Minister Dahal has shown unwillingness to reappoint Lamichhane as the home minister, arguing that would be a case of conflict of interest. He has maintained publicly that he will take decision on the leadership of the home ministry only after the apex court releases the full text of the verdict on Lamichhane’s citizenship case.
Sources said RSP has decided to show flexibility to give the name of any other leader of the party to lead the home ministry. “We can discuss the name once Prime Minister Dahal agrees to provide us the home ministry portfolio,” said an RSP lawmaker, asking not to be named.