Scrambling For Alliances

Narayan Upadhyay

With the date of two important elections drawing closer, the politics of the nation is getting heated with the talks of poll alliances and unification among the parties. The upcoming elections have pushed all major political as well as regional parties for forging poll alliances with the like minded parties having similar political and national agendas. All these talks of poll alliances are naturally aimed at getting better results at the elections that would actually be a major test for the parties in the new political atmosphere which the nation has lately opted for.

Political stability
The two left parties of the nation, CPN-UML and the Maoist (Centre) are in the midst of forging poll alliance and they would later initiate the merger of the two parties, with a view to consolidate the communist movement and to “ bring political stability” in the nation. Few non-confirmed sources said that the poll alliance between the two left parties would be undertaken on the basis of 60/40 per cent ratio, meaning that the UML would get 60 per cent while the Maoist would receive 40 per cent of total electoral nominations. According to new agreement, both the parties will contest the provincial and federal election with the UML party symbol, the sun. In case this “unlikely” alliance wins the election, the leaders of the both parties would lead the coalition government on rotation. The senior leaders of the both parties have been authorised to take a final call on the poll alliance and unification of the both parties.
Meanwhile, for gaining upper hand in the polls, the Nepali Congress too is more than willing to forge alliance with the parties other than CPN-UML. Some Congress leaders like Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat have lately opined that the party would forge alliance with only those parties that have the national agendas similar to that of the Congress.
This means the Congress will join hands with those parties that support the idea of brining amendments in the constitution to address the demands of Madhesi people. Since UML has termed the constitution amendment an anti-national proposition, these parties are not going to come closer on the amendment issues and hence the Congress’s dislike to forge alliance with the UML. The Congress has not ruled out its joining of hands with the coalition partner MC, for the Prachanda’s party is one that have supported the constitution amendment and had also voted in favour of the amendment in the Parliament. Prachanda will have a difficult time in breaking a more beneficial present alliance with NC than forging unity with the UML in the name of unifying the rival communist parties. The Congress leader Deuba is expected to impress upon Prachanda not to unite with the UML as both of them can continue enjoying power if they remain a close ally during the coming polls.
The Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal which finished third in the Province 2 local elections is willing to forge alliance with another Madhes centric party, Sanghiya Samajwadi Forum of Upendra Yadav who showed a stronger support base in the local election in the core Madhesi province by finishing second to Nepali Congress in the poll outcome.
It seems that local poll outcome in the Province 2, which saw the Maoist finishing at fourth and the UML at the fifth position might have spurred the two communist rivals to fight the coming two elections creating their alliance. Also, the fact that the votes won by left parties in the nation have always been more than the votes received by other parties, including the Nepali Congress and Madhesi parties, might have compelled the two rival communist to come to the board for holding serious talks at creating the left alliance. The rivals have seemed to have come to a conclusion that the years of division among the left parties have also divided the voters supporting them which is the reason that non-leftist party like Nepali Congress enjoying power for long.
The proposed alliance and the unification have indeed sent reverberations in the Nepali politics. Joining forces between or among the parties with a view to bring political stability in a nation like ours which has undergone years of instability is an ideal proposition. However, many people in the nation just don’t believe the oproposed alliance and unification between the two bitter communist foes would be an easy undertaking, given the prevalent political equation and ongoing rivalry between the two parties.
In recent time, the bitterness between the two communist parties proposing to unite forces has only spiraled after the Maoist Centre decided to join hands with the Nepali Congress to form the new government at the cost of the UML led government. While uniting with the Congress, the Maoist Centre chair Prachanda had accused the UML chair and the then Prime Minister KP Oli for breaching the gentleman’s agreement of handing over power to him.
While the talks on the poll alliance and, the most importantly, on the unification of the UML and MC are going on, a die-hard supporter of the UML would always be haunted by the bloody ten-year long Maoists’ People’s War in which the Maoist militants had killed, maimed or injured several of UML cadres and supporters in the name of cleansing class enemies. In fact, it is the UML who had suffered the most while the then Maoist rebels perpetrated People’s War had gone from bad to worse for the common people and the state.
Political analysts in the nation would be watching with bated breath the moves taken by none other than Maoist Centre Chair Prachanda with regard to the “new bonhomie” with the UML. The proposed alliance being fabricated in the name of poll alliance will certainly invite him a lot of pressures. Since the present NC-MC coalition government was formed with the “blessings” of India as the southern neighbour did not like the UML’s nationalist stance over the Madhesi demands, Prachanda will have a hard time fending Indian pressures over the new alliance. India will not favour the UML stance even when the main opposition will contest the two-tier polls in November and December with its nationalist slogans.

Odd bedfellows
The Indians would in their all likelihood attempt to impress upon Prachanda not to forge any alliance with the UML and continue its coalition with Nepali Congress, the party that has so far supported the Madhes agendas. Only time will tell how a political maverick like Prachanda could withstand the pressures coming from India and other forces that support the present coalition between the Congress and the MC. In a nutshell, the present period is indeed an interesting period that promises to offer natural and odd looking alliances among the major and regional parties. Only the time will tell us whether these alliances would sustain or bring forth the desired results.

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