The Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP), the third largest member of the ruling coalition in Nepal, has quit the government led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' after he denied reinstatement of the party's chairperson Rabi Lamichhane to the post of Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister.
Three ministers of the RSP on Sunday resigned after a joint meeting of the party's central members and lawmakers decided to quit the government.
Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security Dol Prasad Aryal, Minister for Education, Science and Technology Shishir Khanal, and Minister of State for Health and Population Toshima Karki submitted their resignations to the Prime Minister.
Lamichhane, 48, was elected from Chitwan-2 constituency during the elections held in November last year. He lost the status of a lawmaker following a verdict by the Supreme Court on January 27, which stated that the citizenship certificate he produced to contest the election was invalid.
Subsequently, he also lost his ministerial portfolio and the presidency of the party because one needs to be a Nepali citizen to hold those positions.
On January 29, he re-acquired his citizenship, following which he met Prachanda and demanded that he be reinstated to his former Cabinet position.
However, Prime Minister Prachanda did not accept the demand, which ultimately made his party to quit the government. But RSP had not yet withdrawn its support to the Prachanda-led government.
Lamichhane was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister on December 26 last year.
The RSP, floated by Lamichhane, won 20 seats in the federal polls, making its fourth largest force in parliament.
Lamichhane, a former television personality, shot to fame while attempting to set the Guinness world record for hosting the longest-ever marathon talk show in 2013.
During a press conference organised after the joint meeting of RSP’s central committee, Lamichhane said that in the past, efforts were made to entangle him in several controversies, but he has always managed to steer out of it.
RSP’s decision to withdraw from the coalition government does not alter Prime Minister Prachanda’s political fortunes. That’s because even though the RSP has decided to recall their ministers, they will continue to support this government.
Last month, 'Prachanda' received the support of 268 of the 270 lawmakers who were present in parliament -- the highest number of votes a prime minister has ever received in a vote of confidence in parliament.
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