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Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister Upendra Yadav quits in a setback for Prachanda-led govt

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Nepal Health Minister Upendra Yadav

Nepal Health Minister Upendra Yadav (File image)

Kathmandu: Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister and senior Madhesi leader Upendra Yadav on Monday tendered his resignation and his party pulled out of the government, a setback to Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda-led coalition government.

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Yadav, also the Minister for Health and Population, submitted his resignation to Prime Minister “Prachanda” on Monday morning, according to sources close to the Madhesi leader. Along with Yadav, Minister of State for Forest and Environment Dipak Karki, from the same party, has also submitted his resignation.

The resignation by Yadav, the Chairman of Janata Samajwadi Party Nepal (JSP-Nepal), comes a week after his party split into two groups with senior leader Ashok Rai forming a new party named Janata Samajwadi Party. The new party has been recognised by the Election Commission.

"This morning, I submitted my resignation to Prime Minister Dahal. Given the current political situation, I find it untenable to continue my cooperation with the government," Yadav said.

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The JSP-Nepal had altogether 12 lawmakers in the House of Representatives (HoR). Now the party's strength has been reduced to 5 in the HoR as Rai and six other lawmakers and 30 central committee members joined the new party.

The ruling coalition led by Prime Minister Prachanda still holds a majority with 77 seats of the CPN-UML, 32 of the Maoist Centre, 21 of the Rastriya Swatantra Party, seven of the newly formed Janata Samajbadi Party and 10 seats of the CPN-Unified Socialist (CPN-US). The coalition requires at least 138 seats in the 275-member House of Representatives to prove a majority.

“The party’s pull out from the government will not have an immediate impact on the Prachanda-led coalition government,” said Sunil Manandhar, former environment minister and central committee member of the ruling CPN-Maoist Centre. However, it may have some repercussions on the stability of the government in the long term, he added.

There are reports that the Opposition Nepali Congress is trying to mobilise JSP-Nepal and CPN-US led by former prime minister Madhav Nepal to topple the Prachanda-led government. Nepali Congress is currently obstructing the proceedings of the House of Representatives demanding the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Ravi Lamichhene, who is also the president of the Rastriya Swotantra Party over the issue of cooperative fund misappropriation.

If CPN-US also withdraws support from the government then the Prachanda-led government might need to prove its majority in the House of Representatives, point out political observers.

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