Kathmandu, 07 July : RJP-Nepal and Socialist Party-Nepal have intensified unity talks in recent weeks and have agreed in principle on unifying, but analysts say both the parties may take months to agree on unity or partnership in an alliance. The two parties intensified informal negotiation for merger. Leaders said that interlocutors from two sides have held several rounds of discussion in the recent weeks to prepare groundwork for merger although a formal talk is yet to kick off.
RJPN and SPN, which run a coalition government in Province 2, have been exploring possibility of unification ever since the two parties jointly contested elections in the federal and parliamentary elections in 2017, but with little success.
Leaders from both parties have, in principle, agreed on a need for merger in view of similarity in their political agenda and common constituents. But they share fundamental differences over other issues including the modality of merger.
RJPN has said that a merger with SPN was unlikely until the latter quits the KP Oli government and also withdraws its support to the government. RJP-N leader Rajendra Mahato said his party was preparing for unity or partnership in an alliance with SP-N so that a momentum for nationwide movement could be built to pressure the government to address issues of Madhesis, Janajatis and other marginalised communities and groups.
After ruling out such possibilities for months, SPN leaders have reportedly hinted that they will quit the government if there is further delay in addressing the demand for amending the constitution.
In recent weeks, especially after its merger with the Baburam Bhattarai-led Naya Shakti Nepal, SPN leaders including Chairman Upendra Yadav and Co Chair Rajendra Shrestha have been holding talks with RJPN presidium members, especially Rajendra Mahato. Mahato leads a five-member talk team formed the party. An RJP-N leader said he was not very hopeful about unity with the SP-N because his party’s attempt in the past to reach a merger deal with the SP-N did not yield any positive result. “But since the SP-N also talks of forming an alternative to champion the cause of inclusive democracy and empowerment of marginalised groups, we are keeping our fingers crossed for unity with SP-N or partnership in an alliance with it,” the RJP-N leader said.
The leader said that success of unity talks would depend on the SP-N’s readiness to quit the government and accord appropriate positions to RJP-N leaders on the basis of their equal strength in the Parliament.
RJPN has also been reaching out to smaller ethic-based parties to form a coalition which would push for political rights of various marginalized and excluded groups. The alliance seeks to fight for the rights of Madhesi, Dalit and indigenous communities, while defending the historic achievements including federalism and secularism.
Some of the parties involved in the talks include Tarai Tharuhat Party led by Bhanu Ram Tharu and Limbuwan Party Chair Kumar Lingden.