A magnificent implosionThe least that is expected of the leaders is that they follow a minimum standard of dignity.
It was inevitable, the fragmentation of the Nepal Communist Party. The way the two factions within the party, led by KP Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal respectively, had been going at each other's throats in the past few months, it was just a matter of time before they parted ways. And yet it is strange, even ugly, that the party that had got the most unequivocal popular mandate in Nepal's political history to run the government and steer the country towards a prosperous future, imploded magnificently. With its implosion, the party has put to rest the people's desire to see a singular party run the country for a full term, unlike in the past when one minority government fell after another and horse trading in politics was the order of the day.
The twin co-chairs ran the Nepal Communist Party with utmost callousness as if it was their personal fiefdom. Having jeopardised the party's political legitimacy and the country's forward march for their petty monkey business, Oli and Dahal show no remorse even today. The party that had got the people's mandate to become the custodians of their dreams had no moral licence to split, just as it had no moral licence to let Parliament fall apart at the whim of a party chair whose only desire has been to hold on to power no matter how much his actions cost the country.
The twin factions have begun the race to the Election Commission with their claims to legitimacy. On Tuesday, a two-thirds majority of the members of the central committee that attended the meeting of the Dahal faction replaced KP Sharma Oli with Madhav Kumar Nepal unopposed as its chairman. The Oli faction, meanwhile, replaced Narayan Kaji Shrestha with Pradeep Kumar Gyawali as its spokesperson and added a whopping 556 new members in the central committee. The Election Commission is going to have its plate full in the coming days as neither faction seems to let go of the other's neck.
The division of the party does not seem to become easy, as there is no clear-cut division anymore. Cadres have crossed over from one faction to another in the past two and a half years, and reports from various parts of the country say one faction has already started barring another faction from entering party offices. The slugfest is only set to escalate in the coming days as the two factions continue to up their ante against each other. Unless, that is, the top leaders set aside their personal egos and settle on a graceful bifurcation for the safety and security of their cadres as well as their respective political legitimacies among the people.
The least that is expected of the leaders of both factions is that they follow a minimum standard of dignity in their claims to legitimacy in their party offices, on the road and at the Election Commission. Citizens, human rights activists and civil society members must remain vigilant in the coming days to ensure that the falling apart of the Nepal Communist Party does not become yet another excuse for destabilising peace within the country.