KATHMANDU, March 22: Even though the Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) gave a vote of confidence to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the party has not yet decided whether to join the government.
Speaking to Republica, the leader of RSP’s parliamentary party, Dol Prasad Aryal, said that there is no formal decision on whether or not the RSP will join the government.
He said, “We have not decided whether or not to join the government. Now we will have a meeting and make a decision. We have not thought about which ministry we will take, however.”
RSP is the fourth largest party in the House of Representatives (HoR). The party won 20 seats in the HoR directly and proportionally in the elections held on November 20. On December 25, the RSP also became an important party when a seven-party alliance was formed by the CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Center), Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) and the RSP.
Rabi Lamichhane, chairman of RSP, was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister in the government led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on December 26.
Similarly, when the cabinet was expanded on January 17, two ministers and one state minister were added from the RSP. Vice President Dol Prasad (DP) Aryal became Minister for Labor, Employment and Social Security and Shishir Khanal became the Minister for Education, Science and Technology, while Dr Tosima Karki became the Minister of State for Health and Population.
But RSP participated in the government for only a few months. The party quit the government on February 5. The reason was the cancellation of RSP Chairman Lamichhane's position as an MP and minister and the issue of power sharing. The party insisted it should get the home ministry back, a proposition rejected by PM Dahal.
But after Prime Minister Dahal did not give the home ministry to RSP, it quit the government on February 5. However, the support lent by the party to the government continued. Similarly, on February 25, the RPP also left the government and withdrew its support.
In the presidential election on March 9, the RSP voted for Nepali Congress leader Ram Chandra Paudel. In the vice presidential election held on March 17, it voted for Janamat Party candidate Mamata Jha. RSP gave a vote of confidence to Prime Minister Dahal for a second time on March 20.
Similarly, to finalize the nominations for the by-election, a meeting of the RSP is being held on the 24th March.
According to RSP’s Joint General Secretary Kavindra Burlakoti, a meeting is scheduled to be held on the 24th of March to finalize the nominations for the by-election.
He said, “We are holding a meeting on the 24th to finalize the nominations for the by-election. We are assessing the situation in three places. Whether or not to join the government can also be discussed on the same day. The chairman is holding discussions with the Prime Minister on behalf of the party.”