Unification between Samajbadi Party and RJPN unlikely soon

Published On: December 29, 2019 08:40 AM NPT By: Mithilesh Yadav

LAHAN, Dec 29: With the Upendra Yadav's Samajbadi Party (SP) quitting the government, the issue of a merger between Yadav's party and the Rastriya Janata Party Nepal has been a matter of hot discussion in the political circles.

As the RJPN had earlier put forth SP's exit from the KP Oli government as a precondition for starting unification talks, Chairman Yadav says that the ball now is in the RJPN court.

But will a unification take place anytime soon? As things stand now, this is not happening that early. 

Coordinator of RJPN Presidium Rajendra Mahato argued that Yadav did not exit the government when they had asked him to and the reason behind SP's quitting the government was "technical".

Mahato, however, said they are positive about merging the two parties. “We have not settled all the issues yet. Our parties will unify when we reach consensus on all the outstanding issues,” he said, while adding that the unification process could not materialize earlier because Yadav took a rigid stance on some issues.

The SP had formally discussed unification in the party's meeting on August 29. But the proposal made by the SP to place Rajendra Shrestha in the fourth hierarchy of a unified party caused serious dispute within the RJPN.

SP had proposed to place Mahato in the third position in the party hierarchy after Ashok Rai while placing Bhattarai and Yadav in the first and second positions. The party proposed making Mahantha Thakur honorary chairman of the party. 

But since the proposal placed RJPN coordinator Mahato in the third position after Ashok Rai, there was huge dissatisfaction among RJPN leaders.

After a series of informal discussions later, the two parties had agreed to place Mahato in the third position in the new party.

The SP had initially proposed Baburam Bhattarai as chairman of the new party's Federal Council, Mahantha Thakur as honorary chairman, Ashok Rai as senior leader, Rajendra Mahato as senior leader, and Rajendra Shrestha, Mahendra Raya Yadav and Sharat Singh Bhandari as secretariat members in the new party structure.

Although there had been understanding on various other major issues between the two parties, the unification process could not move forward as SP earlier refused to immediately quit the government. But after the SP's quitting the 

government and withdrawing its support to the government, fresh discussion about unifying the two parties have started.

Analysts, however, say the parties may not unite immediately. “I do not see the possibility of unification of the two parties anytime soon,” said Rajesh Ahiraj, who keeps close tabs on tarai politics.

Ahiraj argued that both the parties are 'too poor' in terms of their thinking and ideology. “They seem to be competing with each other to appease the power center and earn their sympathy,” he further said.

Analysts like Ahiraj believe that the RJPN, which earlier reached two-point agreement with the government, is left with three alternatives -- first alternative is to forge alliance with Nepali Congress and hit the streets to press its demands, the second would be to forge alliance with the ruling NCP and become part of the government, and the third would be to either unite with the RJPN or move ahead alone.

“Should the RJPN choose to forge alliance with the NCP, all RJPN leaders would be safe while the agenda they have been championing would die down,” Ahiraj added. “Should they choose to move alone they will get nowhere.”

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