KATHMANDU, May 1 (PTI): Nepal’s Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) will decide whether or not to join the government at a party meeting on Friday, a senior party leader said on Monday, a day after its Chairman Ravi Lamichhane met Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and discussed the current political situation in the country.
The RSP, the fourth largest party in Nepal’s Parliament, won two out of three seats of the House of Representatives in recently held by-polls, raising its tally in the lower house to 22.
Talking to the media after the central committee meeting of the party on Monday, RSP General Secretary and Spokesperson Mukul Dhakal said that a meeting has been called for Friday to decide on the issue of the party joining the current government.
In Monday’s meeting, the central members gave their views on whether or not to join the government. Lamichhane was elected as RSP’s Parliamentary Party leader during the meeting.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister ‘Prachanda’ told reporters on Monday that the RSP might join the coalition government. “I have talked to Ravi Lamichhane regarding his party joining the government and the RSP will give its decision within 2-3 days,” Prachanda said.
“The RSP will not withdraw its support to the government but we are holding talks to bring the RSP into the government,” he added.
It is important for Prime Minister Prachanda to bring RSP in the government for its stability.
The development comes a day after Lamichhane met Prachanda at the Prime Minister’s residence on Sunday. The Maoist leader has been trying to persuade the former TV journalist to join the government to strengthen his fragile ruling coalition.
The Prime Minister had congratulated Lamichhane over the phone immediately after he was elected, and he again congratulated him during their meeting on Sunday, Press Coordinator Surya Kiran Sharma said.
The RSP was the third largest member of the ruling coalition in Nepal before quitting the government after Prachanda denied Lamichhane’s reinstatement to the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister after his citizenship controversy.
Lamichhane’s Parliament membership was revoked by the Supreme Court earlier this year after he was found guilty of not producing a valid citizenship certificate to contest the parliamentary election. He was compelled to obtain back his citizenship and prepare for the by-election.
The RSP has not yet withdrawn its support to the Prachanda-led coalition government, though its ministers had already quit the government.
The party is likely to demand important ministries including the portfolio of Home currently being held by the Deputy Prime Minister and senior Maoist leader Narayankaji Shrestha. Therefore, political observers pointed out that it would not be easy for the Prime Minister to satisfy the RSP leaders, whose morale has got a boost after winning the by-polls. Prachanda has said that he will also talk to the other members of the ruling alliance including Nepali Congress for accommodating the RSP in the cabinet.
The ruling eight-party coalition includes the Nepali Congress, Communist Party Nepal-Maoist Centre, CPN-Unified Socialist, Nagarik Unmukti Party, Janamat Party, Janta Samajwadi Party, Lokatantrik Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Janamorcha.