No sooner the Maoist formally entered the peaceful mainstream; split has been seen with the UML. And division between these two parties may affect the future of the pact.
As the country seems overwhelmingly welcoming the historic deal between the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) government and the CPN Maoist, a split has been noticed among those signatories. Especially, the major Communist factions the Maoists and the UML are seen divided. And biases towards one another seem to surface. Especially, the UML seems to be dissatisfied with the post deal scenario. General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal has been attacked by his comrades and also from the ground level cadres for giving ‘more space’ to the Maoists. They have questioned if the Maoists had enough popularity or status to get equal seats with the UML in the interim legislature. Not only UML, but the Nepali Congress or other party people are also perplexed with this decision, especially Maoists’ position in the interim legislature. Their stance is that the Maoists haven’t so far been tested before the public and how could they get second position in the interim legislature followed by interim government.
The UML has been skeptic that the Nepali Congress and the Maoists are plotting against it. Prime Minister Koirala’s generosity towards the Maoists seems to give logic for the doubt. To observe Prime Minister Koirala’s past, he ever remained tough against the Communists. In the past, people understood him as the leader most offensive towards the Communists. There were gossips among the political circle that Koirala even didn’t want to hear the names of the Communists. The same observation seems to have raised doubts on the UML. They have questioned how Koirala overnight could be so loyal towards the Communists who fought eleven years of bloody war and claimed thousands of lives.
Another point General Secretary Nepal raised is that the agreements between Prachanda and Koirala are not reported to him. Prachanda and Koirala have met each other dozens of times in the past months and the series continue till Friday. The UML has understood that the NC and the Maoists interpreted themselves only as the principle forces in national politics. And it has felt of being ignored.
The other split is seen regarding the leadership of interim government. The Maoist Supremo Prachanda has publicly said that the interim government will also be led by the incumbent Prime Minister Koirala. However, the UML has said the leadership of interim government is yet to be determined. The agreement states that the formation of interim government and division of port folios will be done in the basis of mutual understanding. If anything wasn’t understood in words in the meet, it is quite apposite for the UML to raise the issue. UML’s this stance has been supported by NC D president Sher Bahadur Deuba as well. Deuba also reiterated the stance on Friday. But the Maoists stand that if anyone except them leads the interim government, it shall be Koirala.
The UML also seems to have felt that the Maoists are clearly threatening its ground. So why, it has thought to intensify a campaign against the Maoists. Its student wing ANNFSU has already declared the campaign along with a threat to the Maoist student wing ANNISU (Revolutionary) not to disrupt its activities. The scuffle between the student wings affiliated to the Maoist and the UML on Tuesday may be the preview of the scenario growing tomorrow.
It has been ordinary phenomenon that a number of students are always seen in the gathering of any party. This time there were some reports that the Maoists forcefully took the children to their gathering.
Not only the UML, but the Maoists also seem determined to break the ground of UML. Ever since the Maoist Supremo Prachanda became public, he has been attacking the UML. It said the UML has escaped from the essence of People’s Multi Party Democracy as incepted by Madan Bhandari. Prachanda also said in the interviews that the CPN Maoist will redefine People’s Multi Party democracy. Hence, the Maoists’ first target became the UML. Everyone could understand that since it is very difficult to attract the cadres of Nepali Congress and other democratic forces, UML was targeted by the Maoists. After the Maoists land on the peaceful mainstream, whatever principle they may adhere to, it shall be the UML way to go among the public. That’s why; the Maoists seem to go head on with the UML. After all, the Maoists still believe in Communism which is synonymous to one party totalitarianism. That’s why UML’s name itches to any Maoist cadres, let alone leaders.
These differences seem to affect the implementation of the accord. The UML still favors referendum to decide the fate of Monarchy and is thinking new strategy to take this issue among the public. Whereas, UML’s next stance of proportional electoral system may just be an agenda for the Constituent Assembly, the general public seems divided on the issue of referendum. There are good logics backing both the stances. Besides, after the Maoists come to the mainstream politics, it is has become obligatory for the UML to redefine its role and activities. When UML General Secretary and other participants of the summit talks felt of being worst ignored, especially, by Prime Minister Koirala, they used note of dissent as the shield. For the political image, it seems obligatory for Nepal and his party to stick to the stance, may be just to shut the mouth of cadres. That’s why the UML seems to highlight the issue of Referendum.
The Maoists around the country observed ‘victory’: a mass gathering at Open air theatre in Kathmandu
To the next hand, the Maoists have intensified their activities across the country, with a special focus on the valley. They are carrying on the political campaigns and seeking space on the national politics. When both the parties go among the public, the bitterness among them seems to increase. The head on situation seems to prevail which will bring further complications on the implementation of the understanding. The complication seems to begin from the formation of interim government. To see the role of Koirala on making this peace process a success, the parties may agree on his leadership for the interim government as well. Even if the leadership of interim government is agreed, the division of portfolio seems to ignite the debate. As the UML is not satisfied with the portfolios in the incumbent government, it will highlight the issue to the best of its capacity. Hence, despite the signing of understanding, the days ahead seem more challenging for Nepal. The politics again will revolve around Prime Minister Koirala and the success will depend upon his generosity towards the UML and other smaller parties including Nepali Congress (Democratic) as he showed towards the Maoists on giving space in the interim legislature.
Otherwise, the conflict will again root from there. If it happens, the octogenarian leader Koirala will never be able to justify his cause.
(File Pics: Indra Dhoj Kshetri, Illustration: Binay Neupane/Everest Uncensored)