CPN Unification: Not a marriage of convenience


 Yogesh Pokharel

Finally, the much-awaited unification of the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) has almost concluded with the picking of district leadership across the country. One year ago, erstwhile CPN -UML and CPN -Maoist Centre were unified to create the largest communist force. Prior to this, they forged an electoral alliance that enabled them to secure a resounding victory in the elections to State and federal parliament in 2017. Ending all speculations, the CPN leadership unanimously selected district chairs and secretaries on April 22, coinciding with the 70th establishment day of the communist party of Nepal in the country. The two parties, with different ideologies, formed an alliance just a month ahead of the election, creating communist waves. It garnered sweeping mandate to govern the nation for a full five-year term, a new development that the country had not witnessed in the past more than two-and-a-half decades. This is a watershed event in the history of country’s communist movement.7_2
Unity for stability
The two arch-rival communist parties announced their unification all of a sudden, giving a big surprise to the people, opposition parties and even its own cadres and leaders. At a time when the communists in the world have been facing a number of vertical splits and disintegration, the unification of the two major communist parties, has, however, provided a respite to the communist supporters and cadres. It is often said that the communists do not know to unite, rather they split not over their ideological differences but on the method and process of implementation of ideology and programmes. But the success of this unification has certainly proved the naysayers wrong.
These two parties would claim themselves very different from each other in ideology as they had adopted separate programme and tactics to attain their goals. In such a scenario, the second-rung leaders worked hard to find a common ground for unification. It was very troublesome and tough task. The unification has given a comfortable majority to the communist to form a government. The CPN has won close to a two-thirds mandate. The unification of the parties with the goal of making a prosperous Nepal, as envisaged by the new constitution, is certainly praiseworthy and provides a ray of hope for a bright future of the country and its citizens. The formation of strong communist government has formally ended the tedious transition and opened the door for radical socio-economic transformations that are essential to overcome the structural injustice and ensure social justice and equality to the people.
Settle factional feud
Every action has equal and opposite reactions. As the leaders have agreed to settle the unification process more technically, by sharing the chairpersons and secretaries in the unified district committees between those who chaired the district committees in the separate parties, it has also created problem in many districts as juniors have become chairperson while seniors, and some central members, have become secretaries. This has created feud in the party. At least half a dozen central members from the erstwhile Maoist party are said to have been what they call “demoted” to district secretaries. Besides, the disgruntled leaders have also blamed the top leaders for taking unilateral decision discarding the suggestions and recommendations made by the committee formed for the unification of the parties. The factional quarrel is sure to nag the party if the leaders fail to settle intra-party bickering and concerns. Building an independent and strong nation might hit the roadblocks if the leadership refuses to accommodate the dissenting voices and stifle the inner-party democracy. Unity within the party is the key to boost the performance of the government and channel the aspirations of the people.
The task of unification of party’s Politburo and sister wings still remains. However, the leaders have agreed to settle the unification in the ratio of 55:45 between the former UML and Maoist Centre. The size of the Politburo will be a third of the 441-member Central Committee. The leaders are yet to reach a consensus on the leadership, ratio of members and size of the sister wings.
A host of leaders from both the erstwhile UML and the Maoist Centre have long said the unity in 2018 was not a result of conviction but rather a marriage of convenience. It was formed for the benefits of the few top leaders and serves their petty personal interests. However, unfolding unification scenario does not corroborate this line of argument. This unity has a far-reaching impact in the national and global politics as well. This has opened the doors for political stability and prosperity in the country by ending the decades-long instability on the one hand and on the other it has rejuvenated the communist movement around the world. The leaders rather need to complete the task of unification of their sister organisations and hold a unity convention to formally endorse the historic unification bid.

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