October Revolution In Nepal
Hari Har Khanal
Exactly one hundred years after the famous October Revolution in Russia, the two big Nepalese communist parties, eg Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist and Nepal Communist Party-Maoist Centre, along with a small group known as the Nayashakti Party of Dr Baburam Bhattarai have publicly announced through a press meet organized in Kathmandu on October 3rd, 2017 that they were on the path of formation of a single communist party in Nepal. In a press note issued at the end of the programme they have urged the other big or small left groups to join their campaign.
It may be perhaps useful to look comparatively at the cause of the Russian October Revolution of 1917 and the endeavour of the Nepali communists to form one communist centre.
From Russia to Nepal
Russia faced disastrous defeat in the First World War. That created turmoil inside the country among the existing political groups. In January 1917, Tsar Nicolas II was forced to abdicate the thrown under the pressure of oppositions and the provisional government replaced him. Nevertheless, even the provisional government was unable to work properly in the transitional period. The country was in a multi-front civil war. The Bolshevik group seized the power from the provisional government in a coup d’état on 10 October 1917. Thus, the communist party of Russia came to power under the leadership of Lenin.
As the autocratic house of Romanov ruled over Russia for about two hundred years, the Rana family regime ruled over Nepal in the same way for more than one hundred years. The surge of freedom and democracy in South-East Asia was clearly seen in countries including Nepal. Political parties came into existence and they fought jointly to achieve their common goals of political freedom, economic enhancement, freedom of all types that the citizens of a civilized country have the right to exercise. They overthrew the Rana regime and a democratic system with kingship was established in 1951 [2007 B. S]. However, King Mahendra crushed the plant of democracy and the Nepali people had to fight for nearly thirty years against that system. Political parties worked jointly to uproot the so-called democratic partyless Panchayat system. As a result of the joint revolution of the democratic forces and the left oriented communist parties, the Panchayat system collapsed. Nevertheless, the king remained in the throne.
The Maoist Party under the leadership of Puspa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda started an armed revolution in 2052 BS that culminated in 2058-59. In the same period, there was Royal Palace massacre and Gyanendra Shah seized power with the help of some old Panchas including the self-exiled Dr. Tulsi Giri and the like. The democratic and the left parties realized the fact that they have to fight with the domestic reactionary force, the kingship, for the sake of emancipation from all sorts of exploitations. With the joint efforts of the Maoist party and the seven political parties, the king was forced to abdicate. There was change of guard. From a kingdom, Nepal was transformed into a federal democratic country. The Maoists came in scenario as the first party from the constituent assembly election. It was a surprising matter for the western world that Maoist Chairman Prachanda became the first prime minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal. However, governing a party and a country are not the same thing. His lack of experience in ruling a country evoked him in taking some wrong steps, which compelled him to resign from his post. The unsavoury debate and quarrel within the constituent assembly forced the government and the political parties to hold the second election for the same purpose. It was a huge loss of time and money. The inner texture of the party became damaged. Anarchism prevailed everywhere. An unfair trend of welcoming the rich who provided them a lot of money became rife among parties. The value of fair politics was degenerated. The scourge of corruption thrived damaging right judgment and it defamed the entire country.
Present attempt of unity
The descent of party from the first to the third was an unpalatable experience for the Maoists. The first and second phase election of the local level established the UML as the first party and the Maoist party as a distant third. Nepali Congress was reduced to the second position. However, in the election of province number two NC recovered the lost position and Maoist centre improved a little. In comparison to the other parties, UML could not secure votes as expected. Now the problem lay in the fact that any of these parties would not be able to form a government without the assistance of one of the other two parties.
In a general survey, the mass mentality of Nepali people seems to be left oriented. Once it was estimated that 62 per cent of the Nepali voted for the left parties. UML and Maoist Centre both have clearly understood this fact. They need each other for a better result. Dr. Bhattarai’s calculation to become the next Arbind Kejariwal was badly shattered after his close comrades left him alone and the poor show in the local election added insult to injury. The effect of this fact was seen in the time of handshake after signing the six-point agreement where Dr. Baburam Bhattarai was pulling K P Oli’s while the latter was looking at the other side after he left Prachanda’s hand. Dr. Bhattarai along with the other leaders seems to be in reverse course to gain his lost political prestige.
Now it is possible that the left parties, along with the assistance of the other regional parties, will form a permanent government and K P Sharma Oli will lead the team. Prachanda, if I am not mistaken, will be the president for the next five years, which will lead the country on the path of economic development.
However, some political parties have been critical of new developments. Chairman of Nepal Communist Party Maoist Mohan Baidya and General Secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal Mohan Bikram Singh both are of the opinion that the alliance between these parties is against the communist philosophy. On the other hand, General Secretary of the Communist Party Maoist [Revolutionary] Netra Bikram Chand’s proclamation that the leadership of the communist party that led the people’s war aborted the revolution without any gain and the real revolutionary forces repulse them.
However, the alliance between the two big parties along with the Nayashakti Party is certainly a positive step in the polarization of left political powers, which may force the democrats to form their own unity, and eventually there will be only two major political parties in existence in the days ahead.