Alliances And Polarisation

Narayan Upadhyay

With the two communist parties, the CPN-UML and CPN - Maoist Centre, and Naya Shakti party opting to forge electoral alliance to contest the provincial and the House of Representatives elections, the political polarisation in the country has now reached to its pinnacle. After the two bitter rival communist parties made a dramatic, surprise move, the non-communist political forces were forced to join hands to contest the elections on the seat sharing basis to win majority of seats in both elections due next month.
Following the sudden, surprise move from the erstwhile communist rivals, the alliance among the non-communist forces under the leadership of the Nepali Congress has become essential to counter the probable future “rise of communism” and the much-feared “communist authoritarianism” in the nation. The present democratic alliance among the non-communist forces has thus been materialised to stop the communists taking sway in the elections and later turn the nation into a pure “communist regime.”
It has generally been believed that the alliance between the two major left parties and the Naya Shakti has materialiwed with a “grand” purpose: based on the poll outcome, these parties would merge to create a single communist party so that they would dominate the country’s politics even by sidelining the democratic forces.
The top honchos of these newly aligned parties have dreamt that their alliance would enable the party to win around two-thirds of vote in the House of Representatives and the provincial assemblies and the merger of these parties later will enable them to bring the desired changes in the constitution which could be helpful in altering the country’s political course as per their likings, although the leaders of these left parties have contended that the alliance would be directed towards bringing political stability in the nation by ending current political transition.
For the two communist parties, the alliance and the future merger have actually been aimed at garnering the “scattered” communist votes that are slightly higher than the total votes received by non communists. The very idea of winning the communist votes through the alliance and seat sharing basis in the elections have impelled these parties to join hands, though the leaders of these parties used to be bitter foes, who not long ago never let a chance go without unleashing scathing remarks on each others. Some years ago, in his acidic remarks, the Naya Shakti Coordinator, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, had questioned the “sex” of the UML, castigating the main opposition for the “non-communist” ideologies the party adopted in the “guise” of a communist party. The same Bhattarai has not only joined the UML but accepted to contest the federal parliamentary election using the UML’s party symbol.
It appears that the leaders of the newly aligned left parties joined forces in the name of left alliance because of their convenience and not because of their political ideologies. The main opposition, UML, had, several years ago, given up several of the communist principles and had accepted many democratic principles such as multiparty parliamentary political system while the Maoist Centre has not yet given up fully the revolutionary fervour of a hard-core communist party. While Dr. Bhattarai, who had split away from the then CPN (Maoist) to form the Naya Shakti declaring that he would never be a communist again as the Marxist ideology itself has become a thing of past having no relevance in the 21st century, has come to join the left alliance so that his sinking career could get a new lifeline.
The new alliance has become a highly favourable move for Dr. Bhattarai and his adversary Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda. While Bhattarai got a new lifeline for his sinking career, Prachanda, with the new alliance with bigger left party, expects to get new political height and hopes to take the charge of the new bigger communist party in due course following the merger. The long-held desire of Prachanda and other party honchos for becoming a directly elected head of the state might also be realised once the new party would win two-thirds majority! Both Prachanda and Bhattarai might also have hoped that the poll alliance and merger would provide them with a greater opportunity to enjoy power for a longer period which would enable them to get immunity from the party’s alleged atrocities perpetrated during the People’s War period during when many innocent people were either killed or forcefully made to disappear.
The leaders of the UML who facilitated the surprise and sudden electoral alliance with the bitter communist adversary, must have expected to dominate not only the upcoming election results but also the nation’s politics through the support from the voters and backers of the Maoist Centre and the Naya Shakti. Leaders like KP Oli have hoped they would be at the centre of the Nepali politics once all the left forces are led by them in the country.
In the meantime, the new polarisation of the politics is expected to heighten the existing level of differences among the political parties, which does not augur well for a country that is gradually being transformed into a federal republic state. The left alliance has indeed sent a wave of apprehension among the non-communist parties that the leftists in the nation would dominate the politics and the much hated “communist authoritarianism” will be a reality for the nation. In the modern time, no nation of the world is expected to return to communism. But non communist forces like the Nepali Congress is getting apprehensive that the nation would actually witness the rise of communism and authoritarianism of communism if the new left alliance is allowed to have their sway in the elections, hence the need for an stronger alliance among the non-leftist parties of the nation.
It is certain that the political polarisation among the two forces- the leftist and non-leftist forces, would deepen in days to come. The power hungry leaders would not mind such a polarisation. But the political polarisation would only heighten differences among the political parties and their supporters across the nation. The polarisation is expected to raise the sense of animosity in them during and after the elections.

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