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Merger Of Two Communist Parties In Nepal

Issue May 2018

Merger Of Two Communist Parties In Nepal

Siddhi B Ranjitkar


Fusion of CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist-Center has ultimately been a reality on Thursday, May 17, 2018, when the two communist parties became a single CPN that has almost two-thirds majority in the federal parliament, and that has the majority in six provinces out of the seven provinces. So, it would run the State administration for at lest five years if no political cracks were develop and again split into pieces. Majority of political leaders and parties including the NC are positive about the unification of the two communist parties. Union between two major political parties is the reality of the political stability that would surely lead Nepal to the economic prosperity and improve the lives of millions of Nepalis that had suffered from the poverty and diseases under the monarchical rule for centuries. Merging two communist parties with each other kept their election pledge.


Political leaders and their cadre had been jubilant after the CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist-Center fused into a single CPN. They said that CPN-UML merged with CPN-Maoist-Center and CPN-Maoist-Center merged with CPN-UML. Both statements are true, as the fusion of two parties has taken place in a political crucible. Then, both CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist-Center evaporated in the political atmosphere.


After the fusion of the two communist parties, a new political party was born with two heads: one of CPN-Maoist-Center another of CPN-UML, four hands and four legs but a single body. Whether these two heads would look to two different political directions or a single, whether the four hands would hammer the same political ground or different, whether the four legs would walk to the same political and economical directions or different, remains to be seen.


So far so good, both the heads of Prachanda and Oli probably conjoined at the neck of a new communist party have been speaking almost the same language, and telling the people they would work together and go together. However, the body has not been complete, yet, as the bodily organizations of both political parties have to merge, yet. They are the political bodies of both parties at the center and at provinces, at the local units. Similarly, other organizations such as women’s organizations, Young Communist League (YCL) of the CPN-Maoist-Center, and Youth Force of CPN-UML, trade unions and students unions affiliated to both parties have to merge with each other to be a single body of a new party.


The two parties have the separate headquarters. They needed to set up either an entirely new headquarters of the new party or choose one of the two headquarters they have now. Both Oli and Prachanda together visited first the headquarters of former CPN-UML at Dhumbahari in Kathmandu, and then of the former CPN-Maoist-Center at Parisdanda in Kathmandu after the merger of the two communist parties.


Both communist parties have probably the assets worth billions of NPR (Nepalese rupees). They needed to bring both assets under one umbrella of the new political party. Putting the treasury of both political parties might not be so simple and easy but they would probably properly manage in the best interest of a new political party.


Prachanda had once said publicly that he had started off the unification talks when Chairman of CPN-UML Madan Bhandari was alive. Unfortunately, after the sudden demise of Bhandari ostensibly in a motor vehicle accident, the unification talk was shelved. However, after the second election to a constituent assembly, the Maoists became a third political party down from the first position in the first election. NC as the first party and CPN-UML as the second party in coalition formed a new government Prime Minister Sushil Koirala presided over on the understanding that Koirala would leave office and turned over the power to Chairman of CPN-UML KP Oli after the promulgation of the constitution of Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. President Dr Ram Baran Yadav promulgated the constitution on September 20, 2015. However, Koirala refused to relinquish office rather continued to be in power violating the informal deal NC and CPN-UML had reach. So, Oli turned to Prachanda for his support for a new government under Oli again on the understanding Oli would quit office after nine months for Prachanda to preside over a new government. Oli also did not honor the off-the-record deal. By that time, Koirala had been dead, and Sher Bahadur Deuba was the president of NC. Prachanda made a new deal with Deuba on running the government in rotation. Consequently, the government Oli presided over was collapsed, and Prachanda became the prime minister for the second time again on the understanding that Prachanda would quit office in favor of Deuba. Prachanda kept the commitment, and quit office making Deuba the next prime minister of the coalition government of NC and CPN-Maoist-Center. Then Prachanda and Oli became serious about the unification talks, and ultimately led to the unification on May 17, 2018.


Once, a new political party function as a monolithic super political party then the dream of one of the founding fathers of the Communist Party of Nepal Pushpalal would come true. Pushpalal had advocated not only all communists needed to go together but also all political parties including the NC to dismantle the monarchical structure and set up a new political structure of republic, which has come true now after almost 70 years.


Because of the pragmatic thinking of Pushpalal all political parties needed to work together to fight against the despotic monarchy in 1960s, some of the communist political leaders having the differing political ideology and ideas left Pushpalal and set up a new communist party. One of them was Mohan Vikram of Communist Party of Nepal-Masal, who had belatedly accepted the reality of need for going all political parties together after the United Front of communist parties and NC together tore down the Panchayat system, and put the monarch within the four walls of the Naraynahity Palace in 1990. The then visionary supreme leader Ganesh Man Singh led the combined forces of NC and the communists to defeat the then king Birendra.


Even after King Mahendra overthrew the overwhelmingly elected government of BP Koirala in a royal coup, and banned all political parties, shut down all other organizations, and restricted the freedom of expression and even the fundamental human rights in 1960, NC super leader BP Koirala was not for going with the communists and make a combined political forces and fight against the authoritarian monarchical rule. Consequently, BP Koirala lost the chance of leading the country, and he made other political leaders of both NC and communists suffer for over 70 years, and he also made youths to shed blood again and again to regain the democracy lost to one king or another, and to realize the dream of Pushpalal to make Nepal a republic.


After the unification of two communist parties, and the elections that set up the republican governments at the local units, provinces, and at the center, the country is moving forward to the determined economic prosperity, the soul of Pushpalal must be very pleased and must be resting in peace and bliss then.


Mohan Vikram of Communist Party of Nepal-Masal greeted the unification of the two communist parties with the optimistic opinions while some other communist leaders have not been so. Chairman of Nepal Workers and Peasants’ Party Narayan Man Bijukchhe said that the union of the two communist parties was not based on the ideology but on who gets what; so they might break up within two or three years. Mohan Vaidhya: one of the colleagues of Prachanda, and his companion CP Gajurel were not so happy; and they said the unification of communist parties not of the left parties but of the strong right-wing political parties. Another small Maoist fish: Gopal Kirati claimed he would then lead the Maoist party. Another Maoist known, as Biplav has nothing to say about the merger of the two communist parties or a new communist party so far, he has been waging underground guerrilla warfare. Former super Maoist Dr Baburam Bhattarai had mild comment on the unification of the two communist parties; he has been going alone in the name of a new party called Naya Shakti, which means new power, however, without any power at all.


Whereas Prachanda and his colleagues have been engaged in making a unified new communist party some of his colleagues such as Mohan Vaidhya, Dr Baburam Bhattarai to mention a few have indulged in tearing down once a might Maoist party. Despite his failure after the first election to a constituent assembly, Prachanda managed to remain on the political limelight, and played a significant political role in every political event while others failed and reduced to the leaders of insignificant political parties.


The so-called communist leaders such as Mohan Vaidhya, Dr Baburam Bhattarai, Chitra Bahadur KC, CPN Mainali, and even Narayan Man Bijukchhe would have the fate of Mohan Vikram of Masal means they would not be able to play any significant role in the politics from now on, as the political cards some minor political parties used to play have vaporized after the provision made for political parties needed to win at least three percent votes to be a national party at the center.


Unifying the two communist parties into a single new communist party both CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist-Center kept the election pledge. After the local elections, the two communist parties announced that they would go together to the provincial and federal elections with a single manifesto ultimately unifying two parties into a single party after the elections while the Maoists were still in the government Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba presided over.


Deuba became totally nervous and even lost the mind his mental status consequently could not steer his party properly to an election victory ultimately facing the disastrous political defeat. Instead of trying to win the minds and even hands of the Maoists on his cabinet, he suspended all the Maoist ministers, joined hands with notoriously opportunistic politician and Chairman of Rastriya Prajatantra Party Kamal Thapa and made him his deputy. Maoist ministers having the mindset to quit the Deuba cabinet did not walk away after they got the hint at the possibility of suspension of the elections, and they stayed on up until the completion of the elections.


Because of being nervous about the two major communist parties in coalition going together to the elections, and the possibility of the defeat of his party, Deuba could not even think of what an election pledge to make rather went on saying that if the two left parties were to win the elections they would impose a dictatorial rule making himself a laughingstock; as a result, his party made a devastating loss in the provincial and federal elections.


Deuba had deliberately ignored the impossibility of any body coming out as a dictator or he simply wanted to scare the voters that if they were to vote for the communist coalition then they would have a dictatorial rule. However, every political pundit knew that Nepal had a large number of grassroots level social organizations in addition to the political organizations that would keep democracy in place no matter who come out as a powerful dictator in any guise.


Not quitting the party presidency following the election defeat of his party, Deuba shed any political moral he had, and continued to be the president of his party further deteriorating the position of his party. Following the democratic principles and values, Deuba needed to quit the party office immediately after the election defeat, and turned over the party presidency to a new leadership to rebuild the party.


Not only Deuba but also BP Koirala did not keep up to the democratic values because BP did not relinquish the party presidency after King Mahendra overthrew him in the coup on December 15, 1960. Then BP became incapacitated due to the incurable disease he had suffered from; he remained as the president of the NC, and quit the position only after death. It was how the leaders of the so-called Democratic Party led the party so undemocratically.


However, despite many political flaws he had, NC President and former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala had shown the respect for the democratic principles and values. After the election defeat in 1994, Girija Koirala quit the office of the party president and turned over the power to the then second generation leader Sher Bahadur Deuba. The second time, Girija quit office was when he as a prime minister could not save the lives of the royalties at the palace massacre allegedly the then crown prince Dipendra committed. In both cases, Deuba took over from Girija; however, now Deuba did not keep that democratic tradition his mentor and predecessor had kept.


NC welcomed the unification of the two communist parties, and said that it would strengthen democracy. Disregarding the stand of party President Deuba had taken against the unification of the two communist parties in the past, NC has been positive toward the unification, and has said that it would be in favor of reinforcing democracy. Thus, NC has taken a positive attitude toward the communist parties amalgamating with each other.


The two communist parties together have almost two-thirds majority in the parliament, and have the majority in the six provinces out of seven provinces. Thus the communist rule with the people’s mandate would prevail in Nepal at least for the coming five years. Whether the unified communist party would be able to get the mandate of the people after five years remains to be seen.


Prime Minister Oli has shown his brilliant strategy to reach the pinnacle of power; however, he had already once demonstrated that he could not stay on in power for long because he lacked the skill required for the management of power. Whether Oli had learnt a lesson from his past shortcomings would indicate his immediate actions.


Some of his immediate actions such as not inviting the energy minister to the initiation of the Arun-3 Hydropower Project jointly with the visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched, had already shown that he disregarded the feelings of colleagues. What gains Oli made not inviting the concerned minister to the event; surely nothing except for losing the good will of the colleague. That is the Oli’s management style, and his deficit of the correct management.


Oli could talk many things without considering whether his talks would hurt somebody or not whether what he was talking about make sense or not. Often he needed to make a damage control after talking something that could cause humiliation to others.


Oli had already shown his failure in the foreign policy while the visit of Prime Minister Modi allowing the Indian security personnel the excessive control over the press and other Nepalis including the provincial chief ministers who attended to welcome Modi while Modi had been in Nepal for two days, allowing the Indian media indiscriminately taking the video of Modi making offering to Lord Muktinath, and making live telecast disregarding the sentiments of all Hindus in the world regarding the violation of the prohibition of taking pictures not to mention filming Lord Muktinath.


Prime Minister Oli must have ignored the fact that corruption is the deadly poison that could kill anybody including the politicians. Corruption had poisoned BP Koirala: President and leader of NC making him unable to rise up from the downfall King Mahendra had caused him grabbing the power from the elected Prime Minister BP then he was.


The recent news in the Nepalese media has it that probably, one of the Oli’s ministers had already shown the seed of corruption. Minister for Physical Infrastructures and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth had recalled the Director of Department of Transport Management Rupnarayan Bhattari from the department to his ministry with the approval of Prime Minister Oli, probably in collusion with the transporters’ syndicates that had been effectively put to an end.


Minister Mahaseth reportedly had been in favor of unfreezing the accounts of Transporters’ Committees bank accounts frozen after they went on strike protesting against the ending of the syndicates. Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, Minister for Physical Infrastructures and Transport Raghubir Mahaseth and the Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank agreed on freezing the accounts of Transporters’ Committees accounts.


Now, Minister Mahaseth has been for unilaterally unfreezing the accounts of the Transporters’ bank accounts. Home Minister Thapa was for seizing the accounts because the assets belonging to the non-governmental organizations needed to go to the State treasury after they became dysfunctional. Transporters’ Committees had been functioning as non-governmental organizations.


Clearly, Minister Mahaseth has sown a seed of corruption, and it has been sprouting a bud of which the root has already reached the prime minister if the prime minister had approved the recall of the Director of Department of Transport Management Rupnarayan Bhattarai that had been the staunch supporter of Home Minister Thapa for ending the transporters’ syndicates once for all.


Minister Mahaseth has revealed the conflict of interest between his ministry and the Ministry of Home, which has been for entirely finishing off not only the transporters’ syndicates but also any other syndicates prevailing in the country. Probably, Minister Mahaseth has been for supporting the syndicates in one way or another despite the strong public support for ending all sorts of syndicates.


When the public comes to know such anti-national activities of the Oli’s minister, it would have grave repercussion for the Oli’s party and for Oli himself. Now, the Oli’s party is the Prachanda’s party, and the party of Home Minister Thapa and of Minister Mahaseth, too. Such an unwanted thing is happening despite the Oli’s statement of not tolerating the bribery in any form. How many words Oli would keep remains to be seen. Folks have five years to watch and see what Oli would be doing, and then decided whether to keep Oli in power or kick him out in favor of another leader.


May 19, 2018

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