By Shirish B Pradhan
Kathmandu, Apr 23 (PTI) Two key Madhesi parties in Nepal on Thursday merged and launched a new party named Janata Samajwadi Party, two days after President Bidya Devi Bhandari gave her assent to a controversial bill, allowing political parties to split.
With the new bill coming into effect, leaders of political parties can split their party if they have 40 per cent support either in the central committee or in the parliamentary party.
Samajwadi Party and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal (RJPN) on Thursday handed over a joint application to the Election Commission to notify about the unification of the two parties to form the new party.
The new party has a combined strength of 34 members in the House of Representatives, making it the third largest force in the 275-member Parliament.
Major political parties, including Nepali Congress, Rastriya Prajatantra Party, and the Madhesi parties have voiced strong opposition to the new bill and asked the government to withdraw it, saying it will bring political instability at a time when the country is fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Senior Madhesi leader Rajendra Mahato has slammed Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, saying the bill was brought with a view to splitting the Madhesi party at a time when the country needed unity and consensus to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Talking to journalists, Mahato said the remaining work relating to the party unification will start after the lockdown is over.
The Nepal government has imposed lockdown across the country till April 27 to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which has infected 47 people so far. PTI SBP PMS AKJ PMS