KATHMANDU, Nov 23: Regardless of internal pressure from a section in the Samajwadi Party Nepal (SPN) to take umbrage and quit the government following the unilateral move of Prime Minister KP Oli to change the ministerial portfolio of party Chairperson Upendra Yadav and recall a state minister from the party in the recent cabinet reshuffle without any prior notification, SPN leaders have said that they will not be walking out of the government immediately.
Party leaders said that SPN National Chairperson Baburam Bhattarai has been lobbying for quitting the government, using the prime minister’s move as an opportunity to do so. But Chairperson Yadav is reluctant. The Yadav faction in the party has argued that leaving the government now would only pave way for its rival Rastriya Janata Party Nepal to join it.
“Our main objective while joining this government was to amend the constitution and address the grievances in Madhes. We will further pressure the prime minister for the amendment instead of quitting the government in haste,” said Ram Sahaya Yadav, general secretary of the party.
According to him, the party plans to draw the prime minister’s attention to the commitment he made to amendment while soliciting SPN support for his government some two years ago. “The prime minister had assured us about amending the constitution. We will draw his attention to the matter and may issue an ultimatum if needed,” he added.
The prime minister allegedly shunted Samajwadi Party chief Yadav to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs from the Health and Population Ministry when Yadav was away in New Delhi to attend an international function. “Prime Minister Oli tried to humiliate us by not consulting us, and that is objectionable,” said Yadav.
Similarly, the prime minister appointed a state minister from the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to the Urban Development Ministry which is headed by SPN leader Mohammad Istiyak Rayi. Generally, a state minister is appointed to a ministry led by someone from the same political party.
But according to some party insiders, another reason behind the party’s reluctance to quit the government immediately is its expectations of landing the post of deputy speaker of the lower house of parliament. The party has been eyeing the deputy speakership as the NCP plans to vacate the post in favor of another party while electing an NCP leader to the speaker’s post.
The constitution makes it mandatory to elect the speaker and deputy speaker from different political parties and genders. The NCP should pave the way for another political party to take up the post of deputy speaker. The NCP leadership has already asked Deputy Speaker Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe to resign immediately after the president summons the House session.