Hurdles For Unified CPN
Dr. Narad Bharadwaj
With the accomplishment of the promethean task of unification, the Communist Party of Nepal has emerged as the largest political force in the country. This unity between the two largest left parties has created the background for a stable government for the next five years. The people of different strata of life have hailed the historic success of the communist movement with great enthusiasm while its detractors are finding themselves clueless about the dynamics behind the ascendance of the left forces in Nepal.
The unification is the fulfilment of an unmet aspiration within the communist movement of Nepal living under the throe of division since 1963. Since then, the left movement has gone through an unending process of division and re-division. The credit for making a conscious attempt for the unification of the communist movement goes to the CPN-UML. It had taken the first step toward it by issuing an appeal for left unification 1974. It may be the coincidence of history that this party has won another laurel for achieving the left unity in a scale not imagined before.
The sweeping victory, which the electorate gave to the left alliance in the last election, had set the psychological stage for the unification of these two parties. The election manifesto of the left alliance had clearly mentioned that the electoral alliance of the two leftist parties would culminate in the unification of the two parties in due course. The message of collaboration and possible future unification which the UML and the CPN-Maoist Centre conveyed to the people during the election caught their imagination leading to a ‘revolution at the ballot box’.
There were a lot of conspiracies from anti-left forces at home and abroad to subvert the process of unification. These forces tried to entice Maoist Centre away from UML by dangling a carrot of letting it a chance to lead a coalition government with the Nepali Congress. International forces colluded with internal saboteurs and hired agents to find fault with the electoral process to prevent the left coalition from sailing to victory. However, all the attempt to foil the advance of the left forces came a cropper and the unification between the UML and MC has turned into a living reality. Now the two parties are in the process of consolidating the unity through merger of lower committees and addressing other ideological and institutional issues.
The unification of the left forces has created a strong basis for stability of the left government. The coalition of the left government has changed into a monolithic government and the fear of instability has dissipated. This is a rare opportunity history has afforded to the left forces for safeguarding Nepal’s sovereignty and leading it to prosperity. But it may as well be a test of efficiency of the left forces in overcoming the challenges they face today and to lead the country to prosperity.
Over the past two and a half decades following the 1990 People’s Movement, the left forces have had the advantage of riding the wave of popular support in all kinds of political movements from peaceful agitation to armed struggle. It is because neither the monarchists nor the Nepali Congress succeeded in transforming the social-economic life of the people by modernising agriculture, expanding industries, tapping the vast hydro power potentials, enhancing export trade and creating employment.
The first monolithic leftist government has ensconced itself in power and has presented its policies and programmes at the parliament. It will soon come out with a budget too. The left government has envisaged a plan to achieve fastest possible growth and has declared to score double digit growth in the next five years. It has a plan to lift Nepal to a middle income country in fifteen years. It has the target to generate 15,000 megawatts of hydroelectricity within ten years. It has spelled out ambitious plans for building Fast Track to the Terai in the south and Rasuwagadi in the north within five years. Kathmandu-Raxaul and Kathmandu- Rasuwagadi railways together with the east-west railway have been put on the pipeline. Two manor international airports are to be built within five years.
These plans, which clearly look ambitious in view of the paucity of resource in Nepal and the short duration within which they have to be implemented, have been brought as per the election manifesto which had promised to work miracle in the field of social-economic transformation if the left alliance emerged victorious. The left alliance did come out victorious and has formed the strongest government ever established in Nepal. If it can marshal all the human, material and intellectual resources available in the country, there is every likelihood of this force raising the country to the stage of middle income and moderately rich country within a short span of ten years.
However, the left government has risks ahead which it has to avert in order not to get entangled in unforeseen hurdles in its race against time. Despite considerable advantage which this government has been enjoying in terms of legal constitutional support, popular backing and inner party unity there are murmuring discontents within the rank and file of the unified parties.
The unity between the two largest left parties has suddenly brought the left political parties at the epicentre of national politics. The leaders of the two parties coming as they do from different political cultures carry with them the baggage of biases, preferences and predilection cultivated in their previous organisations. There are issues regarding ideology, adjustment of ambitions and sharing of power, which the unified party will have to address.
With the expansion of the organisation, running party affairs on ad hoc basis is likely to encounter resistance. The communist parties are not like liberal democratic parties. Unlike the Nepali Congress and other smaller regional parties, a communist party is based on a philosophy and principles governing the inter-personal relation of cadres and leaders. There should be a healthy combination of principle and practice when appointments are made and core national and provincial leadership are chosen. There are tested ideological and organisational principles to govern differences within communist parties. They are known as the principles of democratic centralism, they are, what Mao Zedong said, the magical weapons of criticism and self-criticism. The CPN now must reinvent itself and practice these principles to refurbish the party rank and file.
A person who lacks basic understanding of Marxist philosophy, a scientific world outlook, commitment to the principle of collectivism, a background of associating with the revolutionary movements, a high moral integrity, transparency in financial matters and patriotism does not deserve to be in the leadership.
The Communist Party of Nepal is in a crucial period of setting out some overarching principles governing its inner life. A universal phenomenon within the communist parties is that management of inner-party ambition requires a strong set of principle in which an individual is subordinate to an organisation, lower committee is subordinate to higher committee and the minority is subordinate to the majority. These are the principles whose adherence assures healthy career for every aspiring individual without letting career growth in politics breaking into a chaotic rat race.