Unification At Crossroads''
Dr. Narad Bharadwaj
The week before the last I wrote in this column about irreversibility of left party unification which has since hit a snag and is staggering ahead amid controversy. A few friends who had read my opinion piece had cautioned me for being too upbeat about the process which they say had fallen victim to manipulation of political brokers strutting the corridors of power. I thought then that these friends were pessimists who had not realised the ineluctable circumstance in which the left political movement had stuck and that only unification could provide it a dignified way out.
However, the episode of 22 April which the militant youths belonging to CPN(UML) and the CPN(MC) enacted at the National Auditorium during a function jointly organised by the two left parties to observe the 148th birth anniversary of V.I. Lenin has made me realise that the unification may not materialise so easily so soon.
The political program which was supposed to be an occasion for major interaction between political leaders and cadres the two largest parties set for unification revealed that there is a lot of scepticism and distrust beneath the rhetoric of unification.
On that day a chaotic scene was created when some of the Maoist militants still carrying considerable hangover of radical war time ideology, found the Portrait of V.I. Lenin conspicuously absent at the hall where the program was being organised. It was only after another banner carrying the portraits of five pantheons of Marxist ideology- Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao - was put up side by side with the original banner carrying the portrait of only Puspalal, Manamohan Adhikari and Madan Bhandari that the anniversary function could resume.
Understandably, the top leadership of both the parties tried to minimise the implication of the incident describing it as a minor outburst of dissatisfaction among political cadres who had got reactive at an isolated event losing sight of the big picture emerging from the rapidly forming political bond between the two largest leftist parties.
At a time when a wave of hope and optimism was wafting through the society because of the imminent prospect of unity, the ugly incident that took place at the National Auditorium has startled the people about the level of education in the rank and file of the party.
This incident has brought to the fore the divisive instinct that runs deep in the left camp bringing home the point that the tendency among the top leaders to make the task of unification as the exclusive business of a few will meet resistance. In fact, a great event like the unification should be widely debated and an adequate opportunity should be given to the rank and file within both the parties to make their voice heard.
There is a section of people who are inclined to explain the event as an act of sabotage. They say that what happened at the National Auditorium that day was because of the saboteurs who had succeeded to worm their way to different levels of party hierarchies. But it will be wrong if the organisers fail to make an introspection to discover the lapses and lacunae that had crept in during preparation of the event.
It was a program being organised to memorialise the birth anniversary of the architect of the October Revolution and one of the outstanding ideologues making major contribution in enriching the treasure house of Marxist philosophy.
The observance of Lenin’s birth anniversary without his photograph looked ridiculously awkward part of the management but the way this fact was highlighted to vitiate the slowly strengthening culture of unity was disconcerting. This incident has brought to light the possibility of similar incidents of disruption if proper attention is not given to accommodate the sentiments of revolutionary ideals that run deep in the hearts and minds of the conscious cadres of both the parties.
When two political parties get unified, they are supposed to merge and mingle with each other in such a way that no one feels let down or discriminated. A real amalgamation of party organisation cannot take place until the trace of misunderstanding continue to linger in the minds of the party rank and file on both sides.
If both the constituent parties continue to seek their separate existence in the unified party or one party harbours secret hope of stamping out the existence of the other by playing a number’s game even after the unification is solemnised, the unification will be an exercise in futility.
The Nepali electorate has given a mandate to the left forces to run the government for five years. This mandate can be implemented only if they get unified and focus on leading the country onto the path of stability and prosperity.
The enemies of democracy and change are making an all-out efforts to subvert the left government to pave the way for forces which want to preserve status quo and lead the country to economic stagnation. These forces are inciting cadres of the communist parties by explaining the unification as an attempt to compromise with the ethical standard of Marxist ideology.
It is important to understand that the effort towards unification is not a move towards liquidation of the communist movement. If the on-going process of unification reaches a logical conclusion, Nepal’s communist movement will attain a new height and strength representing a mighty wave of change.
The two left parties have been like two big rivers flowing down the slopes and plains separately. When they get unified, they will form a huge reservoir of power capable of transforming the life of the Nepali people by unleashing the creative potentials held in stagnation by internecine conflict and sabotage from the capitalist forces.
The unification process has been kept afloat despite unexpected setbacks and hurdles. So far, the top leaders of the two parties have remained committed to the cause of unification and appear fully conscious that unity is the only way for the faltering communist movement to extricate itself from the present day predicament and gain momentum.
The CPN-UML and the CPN-MC are at a great historical juncture. Through the recent election they have emerged as the vanguard of change in the Nepali society. In the past, they embraced both the violent and peaceful means of agitation to bring about democratic change in the country. Now the decisive battle between authoritarianism and democracy has been won under the leadership of these parties.
Now, they are in the phase of sustaining democratic change by leading the Nepali society onto the path of stability and prosperity. It is their prime responsibility to educate their cadres to behave responsibly so that the historic opportunity of unification is not lost.