Maoist Centre, which leads government, is trying to form a sub-allianceDahal’s Maoist Centre, Yadav’s Janata Samajbadi, Nepal’s Unified Socialist and Bhattarai’s Nepal Samajbadi are trying to come together in any form.
The ruling Maoist Centre is working to form a new sub-alliance in partnership with the Janata Samajbadi Party, the CPN (Unified Socialist) and the Nepal Samajbadi Party. Of late, they are exploring ways to forge a working partnership.
After top leaders of the Maoist Centre, CPN (Unified Socialist) and Janata Samajbadi Party met on Sunday, the parties’ talks teams and the task forces have expedited their exercises to lay the ground for cooperation, to forge an alliance or a possible unification.
It was a major agenda for discussion at the Maoist Centre’s Standing Committee meeting on Thursday.
Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Maoist Centre Secretary Devendra Poudel said, “We all agree that the unity process with the Nepal Samajbadi Party will conclude as soon as possible. The party’s name and election symbol is yet to be finalised,” he said.
Nepal Samajbadi Party led by former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai forged an electoral alliance with the Maoist Centre and even contested the November 20 polls under the election symbol of the Maoist Centre.
According to Poudel, all the party leaders agree that like-minded forces should band together. “There is no relevance for running many parties separately. Parties with similar basic ideologies should opt for unification.”
The Maoist Centre’s and the Unified Socialist’s talks teams have already held a preliminary discussion on the same.
The Maoist Centre is heading the Cabinet, with its chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal taking office as prime minister on December 25. Six political parties—the CPN-UML, the Rastriya Swatantra Party, the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, the Janata Samajbadi Party, the Janamat Party, and the Nagarik Unmukti Party—had backed Dahal.
As the unification negotiations were ongoing between the Unified Socialist and Janata Samajbadi Party, the former on January 5 formed a four-member task force to explore the possibility of unity among left-leaning political forces in Nepal. The team had party general secretary Beduram Bhusal, and leaders Gangalal Tuladhar, Prakash Jwala and Vijay Poudel as members.
Similarly, the Janata Samajbadi Party formed a negotiation committee on January 3 under the leadership of Rajendra Shrestha, to explore unity with other parties.
Pramesh Hamal, vice-chair of the Unified Socialist, said the party is ready for both the working alliance or unification with the communist and left forces. “Our door is open for all the like-minded parties for discussion,” he said.
According to Hamal, the party is also working out to bring former UML vice-chair Bamdev Gautam to the party as he is not active in the party.
A meeting of Maoist Centre’s office bearers on January 7 formed a talks team led by vice-chair Krishna Bahadur Mahara, including party’s general secretary Dev Gurung, and deputy general secretaries Girirajmani Pokharel, Shakti Basnet and Janardan Sharma as members, to explore the possibility of the unity.
“Documents have been exchanged with the Nepal Samajbadi Party. Discussions were held on if we can proceed together by centralising socialism. We also shared with each other about the organisational structures,” said Pokharel, the Maoist deputy general secretary. “With the Unified Socialist, the preliminary introductory discussions have been held and the current political situation analysed in the course of the talks.”
In August 2022, the Maoist Centre and the Unified Socialist had agreed to form a party unity coordination committee. “We have discussed that we can also hold deliberations involving the top leaders of both parties, catching up to our earlier idea of the party unity coordination committee.”
According to Pokharel, informal talks have been held with the other parties that are out of the government. “Our talks team is yet to meet the Janata Samajbadi Party.”
Insiders say these parties are trying to make a bigger and powerful political force.
The CPN-Unified Socialist has 10 seats, Janata Samajbadi Party 12 seats, and the Maoist Centre 32 seats. The Nepal Samajbadi Party had contested the November polls under the election symbol of Maoist Centre.
“It is an effort to unify the communist movement in Nepal, ultimately forming a strong political force,” said Hamal.
Leaders of these political parties took the initiative to bring at least the three forces together in any form realising the need for a strong bloc in power sharing deals. Once chiefs of major political forces, leaders of these three political parties have felt cornered at present due to the weaker strength of their parties. While the Maoist Centre was relegated to a distant third party in the November polls, Madhav Nepal’s Unified Socialist failed even to become a national party. Also Upendra Yadav’s Janata Samajbadi Party lost its previous strength significantly. Despite being able to become head of the government, Dahal has come under tremendous pressure from his governing partner Oli because of the UML’s strength.
Political observers see similar intent behind the current activities of the political parties.
Rajendra Maharjan, a political analyst, said as all these parties did not fare well in the election, and anything can happen at any time in the government, they want to make a strong political force as a backup in difficult circumstances.
“They also want to stay strong during the presidential elections in case the current coalition does not work,” Maharjan told the Post. “Even to partner with the Congress, Pushpa Kamal Dahal needs a strong backing.”
They, however, don’t care much about the ideologies and organisational matters. All they want is power, said Maharjan.
The Maoist Centre, despite leading the government, does not appear confident. So it is trying hard to form a political force with the parties that are out of the government. And even the leaders of these parties agree it is a complicated matter.
“It is a complicated matter and we need to have an intense discussion on how the forces in the government and in the opposition will be united without any negative consequences. The modality should be discussed,” said Hamal, the Unified Socialist vice-chair.
Maoist Secretary Poudel, on the other hand, thinks otherwise.
“There is no reason to question the unification and coordination between the parties in the government and in the opposition. There are no legal hurdles too,” Poudel told the Post.