He who goes slowly goes far, goes an old saying.
CPN (Maoist Center) and CPN-UML initiated the talks of electoral alliance and party unification with distant objectives. Their destination was finally achieving socialism through stability, development and prosperity in the country by winning the election and forming a stable government for five years.
Other issues attracted the people, eve as the communist jargon of socialism was difficult to comprehend, and they elected the left alliance with a big majority.
But the objectives of reaching far were set in a hurry. Such big and far-reaching objectives were determined in a hurry without knowledge of anyone apart from a few leaders. The secrecy was so-well maintained that the media could not write about the alliance with certainty even a day before the formal announcement.
There are enough signs showing that the unification campaign started in a hurry is now in problem. The top leaders of the parties, that aim to lead the government and go for unification, could not even meet for the past few days. Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal left Kathmandu for Chitwan on Friday abandoning an important meeting of the coordination committee for unification that was already scheduled for Saturday.
Dahal returned to Kathmandu only on Tuesday. Dahal and Oli met Wednesday but failed to make any breakthrough. Dahal’s comments while outside Kathmandu has vitiated the environment of party unification and formation of left government.
We hope that the doubts and suspicions seen now are temporary, and both the parties will come together to soon form the government and unify the parties. We want to remind the leaders of the two parties the following things amidst the current uneasiness.
First, both Dahal and KP Oli during the recent parliamentary and federal assembly elections had promised to the people to form a left government and unify the parties. The two parties had solicited votes preparing a single election manifesto. To part ways by tearing that manifesto would be an insult of the mandate. The parties may have their own difficulties but those difficulties definitely are not bigger than the promises made to the people. They will have to tackle the difficulties facing the unification process to fulfill the promises made to the people.
Second, the unification of the two left parties will have a lasting meaning for political stability in Nepal. We have held the first parliamentary elections after promulgation of the republican constitution, and ended a long period of transition. We have the challenges of working for stability, development, good governance and social justice by maintaining political stability. We also have the challenges of establishing cordial relationship with the two neighbors through a balanced foreign policy amidst the challenging geopolitics, and also reaping benefits from economic development of China and India.
It will be difficult for us to face any of these challenges if our domestic politics continue to be as volatile and unstable as in the past.
Reform of political parties is another important agenda. It will not be possible for the country to take a leap to achieve good governance, development, and stability if the parties were to operate in the current structure and fashion. Unification of two left parties will build self-confidence for internal reform. Debate and discussion will start in the united left party about how to institutionalize internal democracy inside the party, how to hand over responsibilities to capable individuals and make them accountable, and how to maintain transparency.
Unification of the left parties will also certainly put pressure on another big party Nepali Congress (NC) to reform. The voice of those who say the party needs to be revitalized will become stronger. The issue of reform in parties will again be put on the back burner, and the musical chair for power among the incompetent parties will continue if unification does not materialize.
Third, unification of two big parties definitely is not easy. The foundations for this, perhaps, was not and has yet to be created. The then electoral arithmetic directed the issue of electoral alliance and party unification in a big way. The realization that they will win more seats in case of alliance and they will lose many seats without one overshadowed other important issues. The issues that were overshadowed then have become powerful and tricky now that the elections are over. Leaders and cadres of both the parties now feel deep love for their respective parties. This is not surprising. Concerns and interest about the future of the party created by the leaders and cadres dedicating their whole life is normal. The Maoists fear that their party, and their political career will be finished. UML leaders also worry their party will be damaged.
The dimensions of the positive changes unification of left parties can bring about are far bigger than these fears and concerns. The left parties, therefore, must be able to overcome that immediate concerns with the hope of tomorrow. It is the hope of tomorrow that will drive the party and the country forward.
We, therefore, urge UML and Maoist leaders to come together and move forward together. Do not lose direction and hope so soon. Do not forget the promises made to the people.