Discontent in Unified Socialist spills over to its youth wingThe chair and vice-chair of its sister wing Yuba Sangh Nepal organised separate gatherings in Kathmandu on Saturday.
The increasing rivalry within the CPN (Unified Socialist) has been gradually spilling out in one way or another.
The division among the top party leaders appears to have spilled over to its youth wing, Yuba Sangh Nepal, as its chair Naresh Shahi and vice-chair Nitesh Poudel organised two parallel gatherings in Kathmandu on Saturday. Poudel was once the personal secretary of the party chair Madhav Nepal.
Unified Socialist chair Nepal and the party’s second-in-command Jhala Nath Khanal have been increasingly at odds over various issues in recent months. The two joined hands to form the new party two years ago. Both of them have served as prime ministers and led the CPN-UML. They had come together to split the UML and form the Unified Socialist “to fight against UML chair KP Sharma Oli’s autocracy” in August 2021.
During the central committee meeting that concluded on Thursday, senior leader Khanal vehemently criticised party chair Nepal, accusing him of reducing the party’s role merely to a follower of the Nepali Congress and CPN (Maoist Centre).
Khanal presented his own paper countering various policies that Nepal proposed in his political document. Khanal criticised the proposal for its stance to give continuity to the alliance with the Nepali Congress, arguing that forging a long-term alliance with “a rightist force like the Congress” would be suicidal for the communist party.
Khanal countered Nepal’s statement that says given the changed political scenario, the party should fight against the reactionary forces in various parties instead of targeting one particular political force.
According to Khanal, in the current political situation, the party must identify the principal opponent and formulate policies accordingly. He also argued such a policy would only squander the party’s remaining strength.
A large number of leaders and cadres have already deserted the party to rejoin the UML as they were not convinced they could secure their future in the party.
According to insiders, discontent has been brewing also because the party has failed to prove the worth of splitting the UML, the party for which they spent many precious years of their lives.
The party’s senior leaders have remained silent about the conflicts and discontent rife in their rank and file.
Deputy General Secretary Vijay Kumar Poudel, who is considered close to senior leader Khanal, was present at the gathering called by Naresh Shahi, the chair of the Yuba Sangh Nepal, while the gathering of vice-chair Nitesh Poudel was held in the presence of Dipak Manange, a Gandaki provincial assembly member.
“I don’t know anything about the separate gathering of its vice-chair,” said Vijay Kumar, who is in charge of the party’s sister wings. “As the in-charge, I attended the gathering called by its chair.”
According to him, if another such gathering was organised, that would be against the party statute and that such development might have emerged due to a claim over the position of the youth wing.
Ashesh Ghimire, a central committee member of the party, said party general secretary Ghanashyam Bhusal has directed the youth wing leaders to call its secretariat meeting and resolve their differences through the same committee.
“That’s why the separate meetings were later stalled without taking any decision,” Ghimire told the Post. “Party leaders have already taken up the issue and most probably, things will be settled by tomorrow [Sunday].”
Ghimire, however, claimed that there was nothing to do with the parallel meetings of the youth wing and differences of top leaders.
A group of UML leaders led by the former chief of the same party Nepal split the largest communist party protesting against UML chair Oli’s decision to dissolve the House of Representatives twice. They argued that their move was imperative to safeguard the constitution. However, the Nepal-led party is currently struggling to stop its leaders and cadres from flocking back to the old party.
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 decreasing from the beginning and the trend continues.
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.
Currently, the party has 10 lawmakers in the House of Representatives. It failed to become a national party as it could not garner three percent of the votes under the proportional representation system in the last general election.