Opposition parties have started preparations for no-confidence motion against Province 1 Chief Minister (CM) Sher Dhan Rai after receiving green signal from Khanal-Nepal faction of ruling CPN-UML.
Parliamentary party leader of CPN (Maoist Center) Indra Bahadur Angbo and chief whip of Nepali Congress (NC) Kedar Karki have started preparations for the motion after the Khanal-Nepal faction assured to support the motion even by crossing the floor.
The then Nepal-Dahal faction of ruling CPN had registered no-confidence motion against Rai on December 27, 2020 but Maoist Center withdrew the motion after the Supreme Court (SC) on March 7 invalidated the unification of UML and Maoist Center and reinstated the parties to the state they were on the day of unification.
UML has majority in the province but lawmakers of the Khanal;-Nepal faction, who were in the Dahal-Nepal faction of the then CPN, are unhappy with Rai despite returning to UML after the court verdict.
CPN-UML has 51 lawmakers including speaker in the 93-strong provincial assembly. There are only 92 lawmakers now after Maoist Center expelled Tanka Angbuhang who joined UML. The main opposition NC has 21 seats, Maoist Center 15, Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) three and Federal Democratic Forum one.
The Khanal-Nepal faction has 19 lawmakers after four joined the camp of Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli. A leader of the faction confirmed with Setopati that the faction will cross the floor to topple the Rai government. "Yes, we are ready to topple the government led by Rai," the leader stated. "Six or seven of us may have to sacrifice the post of lawmaker. We are ready for that. Two lawmakers seem a bit scared about crossing the floor. But 17 of us are ready to take any step."
The leader claimed that Oli has forced their hands. "One cannot say we should support them to save their post when Oli keeps on attacking us and our leaders. Politics is the main thing for us not the post of lawmaker. This has become necessary to save our politics."
NC and Maoist Center have not publicly spoken about the no-confidence motion reportedly due on request of the Khanal-Nepal faction. But they have started preparations after the green signal from the faction.
NC held parliamentary party meeting on Sunday. "Discussion has yet to be held about when to bring the motion or who to propose as the next CM. But there is consensus in the party about bringing the no-confidence motion against CM Rai," an NC lawmaker said.
NC, Maoist Center and JSP have already registered no-confidence motion against Gandaki CM Prithvi Subba Gurung and Lumbini CM Shankar Pokharel.
The government of Karnali Chief Minister (CM) Mahendra Bahadur Shahi of Maoist Center was saved on Friday when four lawmakers of the Khanal-Nepal faction crossed the floor to vote in support of the government.