Left Alliance Still A Far Cry


Ritu Raj Subedi 

Like the recently concluded local polls, the upcoming provincial and federal elections are also expected to deliver unexpected results. The current five-party ruling alliance is set to contest the polls together to roll main opposition CPN-UML over but questions have cropped up whether the allies will stick together till the polls as the talks of left alliance are up in the air. 

The idea of forging a left alliance among the divided communist groups sounds sweet but is difficult to materialise. It began to go the rounds after the voters gave the UML a bloody nose in the local polls. The second-rung leaders of UML, CPN-Maoist Centre and CPN-Unified Socialist (US) held rounds of meetings on the possibility of the left alliance in the next polls. However, it is not in priority of the top brass of these three parties. It is widely believed that the UML floated the notion of left alliance in a bid to split the five-party alliance so as to lessen the election losses.  

Slim chance

Sometime back, the Unified Socialist said that the UML should recognise it as a political party and treat it in a dignified manner before taking forward the proposal of left alliance. UML general secretary Shankar Pokharel has stated that since the people have already recognised the Unified Socialist that won four per cent of total votes cast in the local polls, it holds no water to pooh-pooh it. But he has asked both the parties to quit the government first if they want to enter a left alliance with the UML. The two communist parties have insisted that since UML chair KP Sharma Oli has not mended his ways and apologised for dissolving the House of Representatives (HoR) twice, there is slim chance for an alliance with the former. 

The proposal of left alliance is music to the ears of most cadres affiliated to various communist parties. Unified Socialist’s respected leader Jhala Nath Khanal was also seduced to the proposal. Khanal did not only push it in the meeting of party’s top leaders but also forged an alliance with the UML in Suryoday Municipality and District Coordination Committee of Ilam during the recent local polls. He insisted on allying with ‘good persons’ of the UML by bypassing its ‘rightist oriented’ leadership. But his proposal instantly met a pushback from his own colleagues. 

Their arguments against the idea of going with UML in the upcoming polls went like this: “It is not crucial whether the party functionaries are good or bad. But it is their leader, who must be sincere. Look at Mikhail Gorbachev and Keshar Jung Raymajhi. Gorbachev’s partymen weren’t bad but they could not prevent the dissolution of former Soviet Union. So was the case with Raymajhi who finished off his own party. The intention of main leader is vital. If the leader is bad, damage to the party can’t be averted.” 

Of late, the idea of left unity/alliance has been vigorously raised by leaders Ghanshyam Bhusal and Bam Dev Gautam. However, both the leaders lack political wherewithal needed to create an atmosphere conducive to the broader left alliance. Bhusal is an ideologue but he is treated as pariah in his own party - the UML run under the one-man show of chairman Oli. Party establishment often mocks his critical approach to the party by dismissing him as the dash bude (10-point) wallah. Bhusal has condemned the House dissolution and formation of CPN-Unified Socialist in equal terms, citing both have violated constitution. He has called upon both Oli and Unified Socialist chair Madhav Kumar Nepal to regret for their moves, which he said, would pave the way for the unification of two parties. But the two leaders are hardly ready for mea culpas at this moment as demanded by Bhusal.

Volatile character

On the other hand, Gautam, who has been sitting on the fence since the vertical split of the party, has formed ‘Nepal Communist Party Ekata Rastriya Abhiyan’ with a view of uniting communist forces in the country. Already in the twilight of his political career, he still pretends to be a mover and shaker of Nepali left politics despite the fact that he has lost all necessary clout because of his ambitious yet volatile character. Many see his campaign as the last-ditch effort to secure his space in national politics ahead of the elections. It is no secret that allies want to save the alliance until next five months and reap the benefits in the elections. Ruling Nepali Congress is the biggest beneficiary of the alliance so the idea of left alliance is anathema to it. The Maoist Centre and Unified Socialist too want to jointly fight the polls to teach a lesson to their nemesis - the UML.

(The author is Deputy Executive Editor of this daily.)

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