The two regional parties Federal Socialist Forum Nepal (FSFN) and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) have paved way to formal dialogue for unification, which was in limbo since the eve of federal and parliamentary elections. The RJPN, which has already withdrawn its support to the government, requested FSFN to quit government so that it could clear the way for merger process to go smoothly. However, FSFN Chair, also deputy prime minister and health minister, Upendra Yadav turned down the request made by RJPN presidium member Mahendra Raya Yadav—stating that severing ties with ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) is possible after the merger is complete. The two parties are now weighing options for sorting out the differences to complete the unification process. Reporters’ Club Nepal President Rishi Dhamala talked with RJPN presidium member Raj Kishor Yadav focusing on the merger possibilities between the two parties. Excerpts:
Has the unification with FSFN moved ahead?
The RJPN was formed following the unification of six of the seven constituencies of United Democratic Madhesi Front. Therefore, we are always open to the merger. We have no problem uniting with parties having similar political agendas so that we could become a stronger power. We have already responded to the letter sent by the FSFN. Both the parties are hopeful and positive about the unification. An environment of trust is being built on both sides.
Why did the RJPN put forth the condition that FSFN should quit the government before the merger?
This is not a condition. FSFN, in the letter it sent us, has referred NCP and Nepali Congress as the force who favor the status quo. We, on the basis of the phrase the party used in the letter, argued why it was necessary for the party to stay in the government led by NCP, provided both FSFN and RJPN advocate for change. Our logic is that we should clear path for the merger process to move ahead smoothly. Unification with FSFN is our honest request.
FSFN has said that it will think about quitting the government after the merger. What can we expect?
We are discussing this. We are eager to iron out the differences surfaced in the process.
Was the merger process hurried because of the pressure, surfaced after CK Raut’s entry into the mainstream national politics?
No. RJPN has remained open to unification with parties who are on the same page in terms of agenda, since its establishment. We do politics centering on agendas. The result of the election is clear, isn’t it?
There are stories that RJPN is losing its power in Madhes. Is it true?
No, it isn’t true. These gossips are baseless. The RJPN has great support from people of Terai-Madhes.