Unified Socialist meeting discusses policy as it struggles to retain cadresCentral committee endorses chair Nepal’s document amid dissenting views from Khanal.
The central committee meeting of the CPN (Unified Socialist) in Kathmandu concluded on Thursday. Party members discussed different documents presented by leaders that evaluated contemporary politics and reviewed party committees’ performances at different levels and sister wings.
The meeting has scheduled the party's general convention from January 28 to February 1 next year. The meeting unanimously endorsed the political document presented by chair Madhav Kumar Nepal with suggestions.
According to party leaders, central committee members commented on the political document presented by chair Nepal and discussed other issues concerning the party organisation and contemporary politics.
On Tuesday, Nepal had presented his political report with the party’s ideological perspective.
Party members attending the meeting witnessed clear differences in the leadership when the party’s second-in-command, Jhala Nath Khanal, presented his own paper countering various policy assessments included in Nepal’s document.
Commenting on the party chair’s political paper, Khanal criticised the proposal for giving continuity to the alliance with the Nepali Congress, arguing that forging long-term alliance with “a rightist force like the Congress” would be suicidal for the communist party.
“In the current political situation, we must identify the principal opponent and formulate our policies accordingly,” Khanal said. But in his paper, Nepal says that given the changed political scenario, the party should fight against the reactionary forces in various parties instead of targeting one particular political force.
Khanal, however, argues such a policy would only squander the party’s remaining strength.
Nepal’s document defends the ruling coalition, asserting that there will be no change in the party’s perception of the alliance and the partnership anytime soon.
Central member Ashesh Ghimire said most of them were of the view that senior leaders should come up with a uniform view as the issues and differences were not hard to reconcile.
For instance, Khanal has been expressing his views against the idea of People’s Multiparty Democracy that was propounded by Madan Bhandari. Khanal is of the view that the idea had lost its relevance after the promulgation of the new constitution in 2015. Bhandari had floated the ideology in the early 1990s aimed at abolishing monarchy as one of its major objectives.
The differences shown by the leaders in their papers can be resolved easily, said Ghimire.
Jagannath Khatiwada, the party spokesman, said some differences in opinions between the party chair and senior leader are constructive and will not impact the party negatively. By the general convention, the differences will be resolved and a unanimous view will be formed, he added.
Pramesh Hamal, a vice-chair of the party, said the dissenting leaders’ views would be discussed at the central committee and in the general convention. In the general convention, if Khanal or any leader expresses different views and the party finds them appropriate, they will be incorporated in party documents after discussions, he said.
General Secretary Ghanashyam Bhusal presented the party’s organisational report at the meeting. Some leaders urged the leadership to seriously think about why the party members had been quitting the organisation en masse in various parts of the country.
The Unified Socialist—formed by splitting the country’s largest communist party, CPN-UML—is struggling to retain its rank and file after central and local members started rejoining their old party. A large number of party members have returned to the UML in recent months.
Ramesh Basnet, Ramechhap district chair of the Unified Socialist, said as many as 25 leaders and cadres in Tanahun district returned to the mother party recently. The party’s third-in-command Kedar Neupane, who served as vice-chair, returned to the UML on June 4 along with another vice-chair Keshav Lal Shrestha. The party’s deputy secretary in Bhojpur district, Ishwar Kumar Karki, resigned on June 14.
Rasuwa district chair Bishnu Devkota, standing committee member Chudamani Jangali and all members of the Gulmi district committee rejoined the UML in September last year while the Jumla committee went to the UML’s fold in November last year. Surkhet district chair Mohan Baduwal and 64 other district leaders also returned to the UML. All members of the Dang Constituency-1 committee joined the UML in April.
Deputy chair Hamal said they have seen both cases of leaders joining and quitting the party. “This trend of leaders quitting the party to join the UML is not a good sign and should be considered seriously. We must deeply analyse how many quit the party, how, and why,” he said. “Are there any flaws in our policy and programmes? If yes, they must be corrected.”
Central member Ghimire considers it a “purification process”. “Some members were opportunistic and had joined the party with greed for power and position. Some were in regular touch with UML even after joining the party.”
A group of UML leaders led by Madhav Nepal split the UML to form the Unified Socialist in August 2021. Nepal had the support of some 30 lawmakers and 55 central committee members of the UML when he was preparing to split the party. But his support base started shrinking right from the beginning and the trend still continues, according to observers.
The Unified Socialist failed to cross the three percent vote threshold in federal parliament under the proportional representation system in the November 20 elections. As a result, it couldn’t become a national party. The party is a part of the socialist front that includes the CPN (Maoist Centre), the Janata Samajbadi Party and the Communist Party of Nepal led by Netra Bikram Chand.