Govinda Raj Joshi and his son Deepak Raj have held talks with Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) President Rabi Lamichhane and other leaders.
Joshi’s father-son duo met with Lamichhane and other RSP leaders at Siddhartha Hotel along the Prithvi Highway in Chumlingtar, Chitwan on Thursday morning.
An RSP central member told Setopati that they held talks on the April 23 by-election and other matters with Joshi’s group.
“They have given word for unconditional support to our candidate Swarnim Wagle in Tanahun-1 in the by-election,” the RSP central member said.
Joshi is a former joint general secretary of Nepali Congress (NC). The party had taken disciplinary action against him four years ago after he was accused of playing a role in NC candidate Ram Chandra Paudel’s defeat in Tanahun-1 in the 2017 general election. NC, however, withdrew its disciplinary action against Joshi on April 2.
NC President Sher Bahadur Deuba then held talks with Joshi’s son Deepak Raj at Dhumbarahi and suggested that they should join hands and move ahead together.
But Joshi, issuing a statement on Wednesday, announced that talks with NC have ended for this phase. He accused NC of dillydallying and ambiguous talk.
Joshi’s meeting with RSP leaders comes on the heels of failed talks with NC.
RSP has fielded Wagle as its candidate for the April 23 by-election in Tanahun-1.
Joshi himself had contested the November 20 general election from Tanahun-1. He received 6,878 votes but lost to Ram Chandra Paudel.
Joshi’s group has not fielded any candidate for the by-election. Expelled NC leaders are still active in politics in Tanahun calling themselves NC (Independent Group) and NC (BP Society), and still use the flag of NC.
Deepak Raj had run for mayor of Vyas Municipality in last year’s local election. CPN-UML had also supported him. He received 11,826 votes.
Deepak Raj claimed that they did not talk about the by-election during the meeting with the RSP group led by Lamichhane.
“Swarnim is a friend, we met as friends,” Deepak Raj said. “There wasn’t really much talk about the by-election.”
He said that they have even issued a statement urging Tanahun’s voters to use their discretion when casting their ballots.
“We haven’t fielded our official candidate. We are independent in Tanahun as we are not members of any particular party,” the statement says. “We also urge our well-wishers to vote and elect a candidate who is capable, intellectual and who can uphold Tanahun’s prestige in Nepali politics.”
NC has fielded Govinda Bhattarai in Tanahun-1 while UML has fielded Sarbendra Khanal.