Samajbadi Party: A new power on the horizon as merger with RJPN looms

Samajbadi Party Nepal, Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, Naya Shakti Party Nepal

Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) led by Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Upendra Yadav and Naya Shakti Party Nepal led by former Prime Minister Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai formally united on Monday forming a new party Samajbadi Party Nepal—vowing to become an alternate political force in the country.

Now, the newly formed party will head for culminating merger with another stronger political force of Terai-Madhes, Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN), although previous effort between RJPN and FSFN (now dissolved after merger Naya Shakti) made no progress after Yadav refused to pull out of the government as demanded by the RJPN.

While announcing the merger, both Yadav, who will act as the chair of the 25-member committee of the new party, and Bhattarai, who agreed to head the federal council, have called on the RJPN to come for unification process, promising a collective fight in the cause of the poor and the marginalized.

The unification process with the regional party RJPN–who has long demanded an amendment in the Constitution of Nepal and withdrew its support given to the government on early March citing the ruling Nepal Communist Party failed to keep its promise to amend the constitution–could make a positive headway given that the newly formed party has taken up constitutional amendment and people’s struggle as a tool to move forward in the path of progressive transformation, sustainable development and equitable prosperity.

RJPN—the party was formed after the unification between six of the seven constituents of the Unified Democratic Madhesi Front on 14 April, 2017—and Yadav (FSFN being the other constituent) continues their strong disapproval toward the Constitution of Nepal promulgated in 2015—which backtracked the Interim Constitution 2007, although the first amendment was done. The struggle against the constitution has continued for decades as Madhes Movement, which first broke out in 2007, a day after the announcement of the interim constitution which ignored the concept of federalism, the most desired political agenda of Madhesis and other marginalized communities.

Moreover, merging with Samajbadi would land a strong bargaining position with the government for the long-fought agenda of RJPN since unification would give them 34 seats in the 275-member parliament. RJPN has 17 seats, FSFN has 16 seats and Naya Shakti has one member in the parliament.

Bhattarai formed Naya Shakti on 12, July 2016 determined to establish a new political force. He had announced alliance with the for CPN-UML and his mother party CPN (Maoist Center) (UML and Maoist Center united to form Nepal Communist Party after elections) on the eve of the House of Representatives election held in 2017 and departed from the alliance two weeks later after he was not guaranteed an election ticket in his home town Gorkha. Bhattarai defeated his rival from Maoist Center Narayan Kaji Shrestha by more than 6,500 votes. Bhattarai while announcing merger with FSFN has said that Terai-Madhes would be the center of their politics.

Yadav has also called RJPN and other parties to join forces with them for a decisive socialist movement that would fight for strengthening democracy and bringing real reforms in the country.

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