Implications Of Left Alliance

 

Kushal Pokharel

 

At a time when the entire nation was observing the biggest festival in the country, a shocking news of the pre-poll alliance ultimately leading to the party integration particularly between the two hostile parties- CPN-UML and the UCPN-Maoist Centre went viral. In a bid to make a strong leftist alliance of all the communist parties in Nepal, this move was justified by the top leaders of the respective parties in a joint press conference. Interestingly, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai’s Naya Shakti has also decided to be an integral part of this force. Bhattarai, who had denounced his mother party two years ago citing the need for formulating a new force to march towards the nation’s prosperity, has returned to what he called the traditional parties.


While unity and separation among political parties are not the new phenomena in politics, the recent political development has generated heated discussion in the Nepalese society. Several questions have surfaced relating to the possible reasons for this situation. Having said that, many people have casted doubt over the intention of this alliance and have been skeptical of its sustainability.

 

Loggerheads

Although it has been said that this historic event could be possible with the dynamic leadership of Maoist Supremo Prachanda and UML’s Chairperson K.P. Oli, it is difficult to believe that the party unification will bear visible fruits. Since past few years, these two leaders have been at loggerheads over various political issues. While Oli used to allege Prachanda of being a submissive leader to fall prey to the forces of the Indian intervention, Prachanda considered Oli a blind nationalist and a stubborn character. In several public forums, they have repeatedly indulged in blame game for the last few years. Talking about Dr. Bhattarai, he has been highly critical of the CPN-UML and had even raised the issue of which gender does the party really belong to. Regarding Prachanda, Dr. Bhattarai has alleged him of involving in ethical malpractices and conspiracies since the early days of the Maoist revolution. Against this backdrop, from a layman’s point of view, it is really difficult to understand why and how these three leaders with serious personality clash want to work together in unison for the betterment of the nation.

The unification saga among the leftist forces isn’t a new one in Nepalese politics. Particularly after the success of the second April movement and the abolishment of monarchy, the need for the unity among the communist parties had been echoed but in the absence of a strong leadership, it couldn’t bear any fruit. Initiatives were taken from the second generation leaders of both these parties but outcome was elusive.

One school of thought for the culmination of the three parties into a unified force has to do with power sharing agreement. An implicit understanding among the top 3 leaders in which Prachanda will be the chairman of the united communist forces, Oli the future Prime Minister and Dr. Bhattarai the deputy Prime Minister with Finance Minister exist as per this view. But the leaders have officially denied of any such power arrangements and have stressed on the need of a political stability to ensure the national prosperity.

Speculations are rife that the alliance might last only till the next election. With the majority of leftist voters in Nepal, this to-be-formed united communist party believes that the election will be in their favor and they would easily get 2/3rd majority in the parliament. Easier said than done, the scenario might not be exactly the same although the situation still looks in their favor if the past trends of the CA elections is anything to go by. One pertinent hypothetical question here is: How will this alliance shape up if they can’t get the majority votes?

On a positive note, the polarisation of the Nepalese politics into two factions- the leftist democratic force under the leadership of CPN- UML and the liberal democratic faction under the Nepali Congress can help to ensure political stability in the country. With two clear cut ideological options for the people, they might choose one with more confidence and clarity. Nevertheless, the emerging new political parties like Bibeeksheel Sajha who stands on the pillars of transparency, accountability, meritocracy will pose tough challenges to both these factions. With serious differences in the political culture, it is unlikely that this party will be a part of any one of the alliance in near future.

 

Challenges

Stiff challenges loom large over the implementation of this unification decision. First, the issue of managing the political organisations and allocating the appropriate seat in the upcoming polls for the leaders of these parties will be tough for the top leadership. With many of the top leaders within their own respective parties unaware of the unification discourse, there is an uphill task ahead to manage expectations. Second, the discourse might be obstructed if the popular votes don’t turn in the favor of this alliance. Third, the chance of the external forces trying to play their part in thwarting the unity process is equally alarming.

Whether the polls will be conducted in the stipulated time remain a million dollar question. With the Maoist centre playing the dual role- both as a ruling and opposition party and the PM furious with the Maoist ministers, it would be no wonder if the poll dates are postponed. In that case, the role of President will be crucial to manage the resultant political turmoil.

 

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