Brand new avatarThe Maoist Centre has changed its ways and now comprises born again democrats
For a communist, quoting the founding fathers is a guide to one’s intellect. Any variation can have a relentless reputational risk of being given different names, ranging from a revisionist to a double agent. Comrade Pushpa Lal, who dared to propose to join hands with the rightist forces, regrettably had to live being called a traitor until the 1990s. Deng Xiaoping and Mikhail Gorbachev, though not quoted by many and disliked by hardliners, dared to reinterpret the founding fathers’ mantras during the early 1980s and 1990s respectively. Perhaps its cascading effect had an impact on the way of thinking of leftist forces in Nepal which providentially instigated a competition among them to link their history with Pushpa Lal as a legitimate claim to re-establish links with Nepal’s communist history.
Lenin had once said, “An all-time revolutionary is an anarchist.” Though it took almost two decades for the CPN (Maoist Centre) to change its combative attitude, I would consider this transformation as its baptism by fire. The Maoist Centre went through a protracted trajectory of transformation in its political outlook. It seems that the party is still trying to settle down. In the last 20 years, the party has had various names ranging from CPN (Maoist) and UCPN (Maoist) to the current CPN (Maoist Centre). Perhaps the next rechristening is near. This is an indication that the party is lost in the maze of an imaginary matrix. After dismantling its military wing, the party faces the challenge of competing with experienced political forces, especially the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML, which are seasoned contestants in parliamentary democracy.
Despite suspicions that the Maoist Centre’s cadres may have received tactful extra-constitutional indoctrination, the party is committed to the constitution and firmly believes in democracy. Other political parties and the international community should encourage and enable the Maoist Centre to remain resolute in its devotion to democracy and help it to reorient its cadres accordingly. The Maoist Centre is being challenged by many internal and external forces. We all want to see it grow as a political force with no remnants of its combative outfit. A politically weak Maoist Centre is an advantage to Baidya and Chand as they seem to be staging an all-out attack to weaken it. Therefore, it would be in the best interests of the established political forces to support the Maoist Centre to remain unyielding in its promise.
The establishment of a value-based political system in the country is still a long way off as we are about to enter a new phase of nation building. The implementation of federal structures will certainly invite turbulence, and political parties and their actors will always be tempted to seek benefits from the confusion. Some rightwing parties will still be orchestrating plans to derail the institutionalisation of federalism and republicanism. The threat to lasting peace in the country is not over yet. Strategically speaking, a weakened political centre means a stronger military centre, which will be a guaranteed recipe for future conflict.
The Maoist Centre desires to remodel itself. This scribe had once asked Prachanda, “If you could travel back in time to 1995 and see the changes in 2015, do you think that you would have landed where you are now?” He replied, “No, but I had in mind that at some point in time, an agreement would be a must.” Senior political leaders in the party hierarchy often claim that they have changed their strategy and tactics but not their goals. This often makes other politicians doubt its motive. The time has now come for the party rank and file to convey a uniform message that they are committed to pluralistic politics, democratic principles, universal human rights, competitive multiparty politics and the provisions of the constitution in letter and spirit.
If the country’s political parties act with the belief that an attack on the Maoist Centre will add value to their credit, it will damage the spirit of a hard-earned peace. A weakened Maoist Centre will be more confrontational with other political parties than a politically enabled and cultured one. Nelson Mandela (unfortunately, no personality of that prominence exists in Nepal) worked very closely with his counterparts and tried to understand their difficulties and challenges during a peace deal. Magnanimity of the political leaders is key to the successful implementation of the constitution.
The strength of the Legislative-Parliament is that dissenting political parties are seen in action there. They have stopped surrounding the rostrum and
given up displaying undemocratic or unbecoming behaviour in the House. They
have been expressing their differences in opinion through democratic means. They have spoken in the House and some have handed over memorandums to the government. What more democratic actions can we expect from parties that have declared their dissatisfaction with the constitution? If the sentiments of the dissenting
political parties in the House are not addressed, they might grow out of proportion politically at anytime.
This is an opportunity for all
political forces in the country to work in unison to take advantage of the gains.
We have already done enough damage
to the country; let us capitalise on the strength of the reinvented CPN (Maoist Centre) as born again democrats who
seem to be desirous of forging a national compromise.
Joshi is a nominated Member of Parliament