The division in Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) evident on the issue of toppling or supporting Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli at the center is playing out even on the issue of Lumbini.
The provincial assembly secretariat on Thursday issued a notice stating that four JSP lawmakers who have been appointed ministers by Chief Minister (CM) Shankar Pokharel have been expelled on recommendation of the party.
The faction of Chairman Upendra Yadav and Federal Council Chairman Baburam Bhattarai, that wants to topple Oli at the center, had warned the four lawmakers to resign as ministers or face action, and duly expelled the quartet after they refused to oblige.
JSP Chairman Mahantha Thakur writing to speaker of the provincial assembly in the evening has clarified that no lawmaker has been punished in Lumbini. He pointed that integration of the erstwhile Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP) and Federal Socialist Forum has been completed in the provincial assembly of Lumbini, and the six-strong parliamentary party can autonomously take decision on the issues of the provincial assembly.
Another leader Rajendra Mahato, who like Thakur comes from RJP and is in favor of supporting Oli at the center, accused the other faction of fraud saying the party has not taken any decision to expel the lawmakers.
"There has been no discussion in the party. I am baffled. How has such wrong thing happened? How can the majority of lawmakers in the provincial assembly be punished?" Mahato asked. "This is against the spirit of provincial assembly. Such decision will not come into implementation."
He also called endorsement of the expulsion by speaker wrong.
The Yadav-Bhattara faction without informing the Thakur-Mahato faction sent the decision signed by the majority of executive members of JSP to the speaker for expulsion of the lawmakers. JSP has submitted a list of 51 executive members--26 from the erstwhile RJP and 25 from Federal Socialist Forum--to the Election Commission after unification of the two parties.
The party has three chairmen--Thakur, Yadav and Bhattarai--but their presence is not manadatory for meeting and attendance of the majority of executive members suffice as per the party statute, claimed a leader of Yadav-Bhattarai faction.
"They apparently submitted signatures of 26 out of 51 executive members in the manner of guerilla warfare. We were not informed," a leader of Thakur-Mahato faction confided with Setopati. "The decision may be implemented as it was taken by the majority but it is now difficult for the party to remain one."
The aggrieved faction now wants to move teh Supreme Court against the expulsion.
CM Pokharel had inducted Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) lawmakers, who registered no-confidence motion against him, into his Cabinet on April 19.
Lawmakers of Nepali Congress (NC), CPN (Maoist Center) and JSP registered the motion earlier on the day proposing Kul Prasad KC of Maoist Center as the next CM. But Pokharel inducted four JSP lawmakers into the Cabinet to save his government.
Santosh Pandey was appointed physical infrastructure development minister, Bijay Yadav land management, agriculture and cooperatives minister, Kalpana Pandey education and social development minister and Suman Sharma Rayamajhi minister of state for physical infrastructure development.
Nineteen lawmakers of NC, 17 of Maoist Center and five of JSP had signed on the no-confidence motion. Three of the five who signed on the motion, and the sixth who did not sign were appointed ministers by Pokharel.
There are 87 seats in the provincial assembly of Lumbini. Ruling CPN-UML has 41 lawmakers while two Maoist Center lawmakers who joined UML have been expelled. Rashtriya Janamorcha has one lawmaker in the province.
Pokharel, a close confidant of Prime Minister (PM) KP Sharma Oli, is also likely to face problems from lawmakers from the Khanal-Nepal faction of ruling UML.