KATHMANDU, Sept 4: Several influential leaders of Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) have united against the party leadership to intensify their campaign against the proposed merger with Samajwadi Party Nepal.
After two years of lingering, the informal negotiations between the two parties has entered into crucial phase with the top guns trying to narrow down the differences on organization and division of key portfolios ahead of a merger deal.
But more than two dozen second-rung leaders including Rajkishore Yadav, Anil Jha, Sarbendra Shukla, Laxman Lal Karna and Brikesh Chandra Lal are against the merger and have called the party leadership to hold the general convention ahead of the merger.
RJPN has not yet held its maiden general convention since the party was formed through merger of six Madhes-based parties. Dissident leaders have been piling pressure on the leadership to hold the party's political committee meeting in order to pave way for the general convention.
“The party is being held hostage in the name of merger. We are not against the merger but it should not stall the party's regular activities,” one of the dissident leaders said on condition of anonymity.
The internal dispute has surfaced at a time when negotiators from the two parties are trying to seal the proposed merger by reaching an agreement on organization and key portfolios.
The dissident leaders have also demanded transparency in negotiations. Four leaders from two parties--- Upendra Yadav, Baburam Bhattarai from SPN and Mahantha Thakur and Rajendra Mahato of RJPN —have already held rounds of talks in recent weeks, but the outcomes have been kept secret from others. During the talks, RJPN leaders have demanded equal stakes in the organization and leadership between the two parties for the merger. The two parties have narrowed down their differences regarding the division of organization but are poles apart on leadership model and management of six presidium members.
RJPN presidium member Mahato last month told Republica that the parties should have equal strength in the proposed party.