Sunday, 11 April, 2021

Dialogue Breakthrough

In a major breakthrough, the government and Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplav’-led Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) has started dialogue in a bid to bring the outlawed communist outfit into the mainstream politics. The first round of talks held Wednesday morning remained positive. The other day, both the sides had announced their separate teams to initiate the dialogue. Minister for Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal-led two-member government team has Prime Minister's Foreign Affairs Advisor Dr. Rajan Bhattarai as a member. Likewise, Khadga Bahadur Bishwokarma alias ‘Prakanda’ and Udaya Chalaune 'Deepak’ are in the team of Biplav-led group. The government is expected to lift the ban imposed on the Biplav-led faction to create the congenial atmosphere so that talks can lead to desired outcomes. The Biplav-led group primarily comprises former Maoist rebels who want to establish utopian janabadi satta. It was the same agenda for which the then CPN-Maoist had launched the armed uprising, claiming the lives of thousands and destroying property worth billions.

On March 12, 2019, the government outlawed the Biplav-led group after the latter got involved in destructive activities like arson, kidnapping and bomb blasts. The police began to crack down on its leaders and cadres. Over 2,000 leaders and activists, including the senior ones, were arrested and put behind bars. The police action made a big dent in its organisational strength and morale, forcing it to review its extremist path and explore other means of political activity. According to the news report of this daily, the outlawed group had sometimes ago expressed its willingness to hold dialogue with the government if an environment conducive to talks was created. The government reciprocated by inviting it to the negotiating table.

Then CPN-Maoist Centre had split into different groups after it joined the peace process and embraced the parliamentary system. Earlier it was known as the CPN-Maoist that launched the decade-long insurgency from 1990 to 2006 with the goal of abolishing constitutional monarchy and establishing the republican setup. On November 21, 2006, then government and the Maoist rebels signed the Comprehensive Peace Accord, paving the way for the disarmament of the Maoist militants and their entry into the parliament. However, a host of leaders, including Mohan Vaidya Kiran and Biplav were not satisfied with the peace agreement. Following the promulgation of the new constitution in 2015, the CPN-Maoist Centre began to suffer a series of splits. Leaders like Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and Mohan Vaidya broke up with Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachada and formed their own party.

The Biplav-led faction is perhaps the last remnant of Maoist splinter groups that resorted to the violent campaign to establish its own version of state. It is a matter of happiness that it has showed intention to abandon illegal activities and join the mainstream politics. Nepal’s constitution carries oodles of progressive provisions aimed at creating a socialism-oriented welfare state. There is no need to launch another round of armed struggle and agitation. It is essential to implement vital constitutional provisions to usher Nepal in an era of peace, stability and prosperity. The grand nation-building task is possible only if all parties join hands to this end. Against this backdrop, it is a welcome move on the part of the Biplav-led group to hold talks with the government. At the same time, the government’s proactive role deserves appreciation as this will enable to mainstream the outlawed group, thereby contributing to fostering order, stability and development.