KATHMANDU, Jan 9: Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) leader Laxman Lal Karna has argued that unification with Samajbadi Party led by Upendra Yadav is possible if Yadav corrects himself and reform his party policy.
The merger talks between the two regional parties have stalled for almost a year, and with Yadav quitting the government after Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli rejected his proposal to form a committee for constitution amendment in a cabinet meeting and RJPN’s subsequent electoral alliance with the ruling Nepal Communist Party in a bid to secure at least two seats in the upcoming National Assembly election and—recent and dramatic political developments, the unification possibilities seem to have been pushed further away.
Both parties have accused each other of undermining the issue of the constitution amendment—their major agenda since the promulgation of the Constitution of Nepal in 2015.
After the RJPN forged an electoral alliance with the NCP, Yadav blasted the move saying they put the unification efforts so far in vain.
Karna said, although the merger talks with Samajbadi have not made any headway at present, it could happen if Yadav’s party reforms his party policy.
He argued that Yadav never carried the agenda of the constitution amendment while joining the government.
“His deal with the ruling party was not constitution amendment but the government,” said Karna.
“I don’t mean Yadav does not favor the agenda of the constitution amendment. When we spoke about the amendment, hadn’t he said the constitution should be re-written? But today, he advocated for amendment.”
“We objected to the formation of rural municipalities and municipalities. We boycotted the first and second phases of the elections. Didn’t his party (then Federal Socialist Forum Nepal before merging with Dr. Baburam Bhattarai’s Naya Shakti) participate?”
“People’s true character is judged by his behavior, not talks.”
According to Karna, the door to unification is still open.
“Talks between the two parties could not make progress because of differences in settlement of some key leaders and party policy. We made several efforts. But, our people are the same. We have not ruled out unification hopes neither have we betrayed Samajbadi as accused by Yadav.”
“Not only Yadav’s demand for a directly elected executive president but also his party’s manifesto registered at the Election Commission which does not include the word Madhes. Why did he unite with Naya Shakti?”
“Didn’t Dr. Bhattarai write the first draft of the constitution? I got the final report at around 9 pm. He was the chair of the constitution committee. We had requested him to give us a night to read the report, but he rejected our proposal. If he wanted presidential format, why did not he write the provision in the constitution?”
Karna also said it was Samajbadi because of whom they had to ally with NCP.
“We told Samajbadi to ally but they refused. He had hoped that he would ally with NCP thinking why to move RJPN?”
The RJPN’s alliance with the ruling party in province 2 has given rise to speculation that they will form a coalition government at Province 2 keeping Samajbadi at bay.
The province has a coalition government run by RJPN and Samajbadi party.
Karna clarified that the alliance is not for the province but the upper house of the federal parliament.
“The alliance does not hint at government change. The agenda should be passed first before the issue of government change takes place. For that, our leaders should be released from jail and charges against them should be dropped. The process of constitution amendment should be given headway.”
“Unless our agendas are addressed, neither we will join the federal government nor the government is province 2 will change.”
He also ruled out the possibilities that Samajbadi and RJPN will run the government in turn.
“Our lawmakers hope that. But the issue has not reached the party.”
The Chief Minister’s position is currently held by Samajbadi’s Lal Babu Raut.