RPP decides to extend support to Deuba govt

- Post Report, Kathmandu
According to a senior RPP leader, negotiations with the Nepali Congress for ministerial berths as well as electoral constituency sharing are on

Oct 10, 2017-Exactly two months after it pulled out of the government, the Kamal Thapa-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) on Wednesday decided to extend its support again in what comes as a great respite for Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba who is busy in an exercise to cobble together an effective coalition to counter a left electoral alliance formed by his coalition partner, the CPN (Maoist Centre), and the main opposition CPN-UML.

An RPP decision on Monday to extend support comes amid talks that PM Deuba was mulling over letting go Maoist Centre ministers. 

The RPP has 18 seats in Parliament after the Pashupati Shumsher Rana-led faction on August 6 decided to part ways to form their own RPP (Prajatantrik), which has continued in the government. The RPP on August 8 had pulled out of the Deuba government.

“In the wake of a communist alliance, the remaining parties are left with no option than to form their own coalition,” said RPP Vice Chairman Buddhiman Tamang after the party’s executive meeting on Wednesday, which decided to lend support to the Deuba 

government. “Our support to the government is a step towards forming a democratic alliance.”

A “broader democratic alliance” is an initiative of PM Deuba’s Nepali Congress party, which aims to form a coalition of “like-minded” forces to counter the left 

alliance. 

“Collaboration with the NC and democratic forces in the wake of an alliance between the UML and Maoist Centre is but the RPP’s natural and situation-generated necessity,” Thapa tweeted after the party’s executive committee decision.

“The UML and Maoist Centre’s decision to form an electoral alliance with an aim to form a unified party could give rise to the possibility of the government falling into minority, which could invite political instability, jeopardising the scheduled federal and provincial elections,” the RPP decision reads. “The RPP has decided to extend support to the Deuba government to ensure the scheduled elections.”

The RPP decision to support the government, and ultimately send ministers to the Cabinet, is a significant a turnabout, as while pulling out of the government on August 8, Thapa had accused PM Deuba of conspiring to split his party. 

The RPP has said it will soon launch discussions to form an electoral alliance with the NC for the upcoming federal and provincial polls to be held on November 26 and December 7. 

The party is likely to join the government under the leadership of Thapa who is demanding deputy prime ministership and the Home Ministry, currently held by Maoist Centre leader Janardan Sharma. This, however, could put PM Deuba in a fix, as RPP’s induction into the government could be possible only if he sacks Maoist ministers. “Negotiations for ministerial berths and electoral constituency sharing are on, but we are yet to reach an agreement,” said Tamang. “We hope to finalise all the issues by Wednesday.”

The RPP is learnt to have demanded at least 11 seats in federal parliament and 30 seats in provincial assemblies, but sources said the NC was trying to convince Thapa’s party to settle for seven seats in federal parliament. With the latest development, the Deuba government does not face immediate threat of falling into minority even if the Maoist Centre decides to quit, as it already has the support of the Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal, Nepal Loktantrik Forum (NLF) and the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal besides the RPP and RPP (Prajatantrik). 

The Maoist Centre leadership also has made it clear that it does not intend to topple the government. Sources say the Maoist Centre would rather like to stay in the government given the “benefits” of being incumbent at the time of elections.

Published: 10-10-2017 08:08

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