Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) is on verge of yet another split due to differences between Chairman Upenda Yadav and Federal Council Chairman Baburam Bhattarai with the latter starting efforts to unchair Yadav.
Bhattarai has put three conditions for Yadav including self-criticism for activities until now, picking another leader as party chair and change of federal ministers, according to a leader close to Bhattarai who claimed that the party can remain united only if those conditions were met.
JSP, formed after unification of the then Federal Socialist Party and Rastriya Janata Party (RJP), has already suffered a split after most of those coming from RJP left the party to register Loktantrik Samajwadi Party (LSP).
“We have majority in the parliamentary party. We have 11 out of 19 lawmakers (excluding a suspended one). But there are some problems in the central committee. We have only 236 members in the 499-strong central committee. The strength of central members will be 450 if updated. We will have majority if it is updated,” the leader added.
The central committee meeting in March had formed a steering committee including Yadav, Bhattarai and Ashok Rai but the Bhattarai faction accuses Yadav of unilaterally deciding about candidates in the local election. Yadav has not even called executive committee meeting after that.
“We have repeatedly urged Chairman Yadav to take collective decisions. But he did not listen to anyone. Many have shed blood and sweat for this party but he has turned it into his private property,” central executive committee member and lawmaker Amrita Agrahari told Setopati. “He should call meetings of party committees, parliamentary party. It is his responsibility to take the party toward collectivity. He should either fulfill his responsibility or quit the party.”
The Bhattarai faction has claimed that the party suffered defeat in the election for mayor in Janakpur, and deputy mayor in Biratnagar and Kalaiya due to unilateral decisions of Yadav.
Influential leaders like Agriculture Minister Mahendra Raya Yadav, and central executive committee members and lawmakers Mohammad Ishtiyaq Rai, Raj Kishore Yadav, Agrahari and others are with Bhattarai.
JSP Whip Pramod Sah has pointed that discussion on the budget is ongoing and the disputed issues can be discussed convening party meeting. He has also claimed that the signatures collected for convening party meeting have been explained as those against Chairman Yadav. “That is unfortunate. The party runs on collective decision of three leaders. We are in the campaign to form an alternative force. It is, therefore, necessary to move ahead united rather than divided,” Sah stated.
The Bhattarai faction is also livid with Yadav over his refusal to change ministers despite expressing commitment to change them after six months while appointing them. “Chairman does not do what he says and never says what he does. The party cannot always run in that fashion. Displeasure of many friends against him has increased,” executive committee member and National Assembly member Mrigendra Singh Yadav said.
Another leader has stated that leaders are also angry as Chairman Yadav has not reviewed the recent local election even as Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Center) and other parties have already completed theirs.
Yadav has also decided to not hold the statute convention scheduled to be held by July.
Only executive committee member and Minister Renu Yadav, Ram Sahaya Prasad Yadav and Pramod Sah have openly supported Chairman Yadav while senior leader Ashok Rai, Rajendra Shrestha and others are neutral.
A leader close to Yadav has accused Bhattarai of trying to remove Yadav as chairman by mustering majority or splitting the party if he fails in that. “They will try to muster majority which I don’t see to be possible. They will try to split the party with support of 40 percent of lawmakers and 40 percent of central members if they fail to muster majority. They may have 40 percent in parliamentary party but it is difficult to do so in central committee.”