Saturday, 19 June, 2021

Oli’s Proposal On Party Unity

Gopal Khanal


Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has inducted the Mahantha Thakur faction of the Janata Samajbadi Party (JSP) into the cabinet, replacing his own party leaders and close aides. It was a tactical yet compulsive move to bring the JSP faction on board so that there will be effective government to run the country. Such decisions are normal in politics. But the alliance between Oli-led CPN-UML and JSP's Thakur faction is not just marriage of convenience, it is a coalition based on agenda. Both the parties have agreed on some long-pending issues raised by Madhesi parties.
It was foreseen that the entry of Madhesi leaders into the government might bring controversies, too. The statement of Deputy Prime Minister Rajendra Mahato on the very day of taking charge of the ministry drew flak from major segments of population. The Mahato raised the already solved communal issue that Nepal is a multi-nation state. Though he issued a statement the other day saying his intention was not to hurt the sentiments of Nepali people. He also clarified that it was wrong to mention Nepal as a multi-nation state. Nepal is, of course, a multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multi-religious country, but not multi-nation state. In the coming days, PM Oli is expected to confront such many more controversies.
It is not good to comment on the personal capability of a particular leader. But it is difficult to justify the appointment of Raghubir Mahaseth as DPM and Minister for Foreign Affairs in place of Pradeep Kumar Gyawali. Gyawali is far better than Raghubir from all accounts. Nonetheless, this write-up does not aim to point out the good and bad aspects of the newly-appointed minister. It seeks to discuss the proposal of Prime Minister Oli to unify the disgruntled group, which will be possibly the last resort to save unity within UML.

Unity proposal
Prime Minister Oli has forwarded a six-point proposal that has almost addressed all the issues raised by Nepal-Khanal faction. At the outset, Prime Minister Oli has said that his proposal aims to resolve the problems seen within the party and protect and consolidate the party unity. Therefore, one cannot question the intention of the Prime Minister. There has been a realisation on the part of the Prime Minister that whatever is happening within the party, this has further worsened the relations among the leaders.
Let's look at the six points first.
First, the UML will move ahead as per its status prior to May 17, 2018 (2075 BS, Jestha 3). The structure of the Standing Committee and Central Committee will be expanded considering the role of those members, who have stood for the party unity during the period of Nepal Communist Party (NCP). This point has addressed the main and the most contentious issue raised by Nepal-Khanal faction. When Oli says he is ready to return the party to pre-unification phase, Nepal-Khanal faction should welcome it unconditionally. Unfortunately, it has rejected the proposal, which will not be good for party and the leaders affiliated to the very faction.
Second, the sister organisations and the committees under the central committee will be active from the status of May 17, 2018. It means all the committees and leadership of then UML will be restored and they will start working from that point. This is just the supplementary point. Third, there will be a task force to implement the first and second points. It will sort out problems, if any, in this connection.
Fourth, the signatures of the UML’s lawmakers that are included in the writ petition registered in the Supreme Court to make the opposition leader Sher Bahadur Deuba Prime Minister would be withdrawn. Altogether 23 UML parliamentary party members of dissolved House of Representatives (HoR) have signed the petition.
Fifth, there will be no discrimination, prejudice and action against those who have committed mistakes during these three years of NCP. All will be treated equally. Sixth, all the comrades of the party will contribute constructively to make the party disciplined, unified and stronger ideologically, organisationally and emotionally.
These are the points put forth by the Prime Minister. A man with conviction and stubborn in nature has come to this level of flexibility should not be undermined. Therefore, Madhav Nepal and other leaders associated with him should think seriously whether they want to see the UML unified or divided.

Madhav's mission
As Prime Minister Oli appealed to Nepal and other leaders of the party with the aforementioned proposal, Nepal along with Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda rushed to Deuba’s residence at Budhanilkantha to discuss the emerging political situation.
It was quite peculiar to witness the deeds and manners of Nepal, who has consulted with Deuba and Prachanda about the proposal presented by the chairman of the Party and Prime Minister. Then, he called the meeting of his party colleagues and decided to reject the proposal. It manifests Nepal’s deliberate mission to ruin the largest communist party of Nepal. Leaders like Nepal, Bhim Rawal, Raghuji Panta, Beduram Bhusal along with young leaders such as Jagannath Khatiwada, Rajendra Rai, Ram Kumari Jhankri seem to have vowed that they would destroy the strong foundation of the party in their lifetime.
But, there are leaders, who have welcomed the proposition of Oli and have been holding dialogue with Prime Minister's team. Surendra Pandey, Yogesh Bhattarai, Gokarna Bista, Ghanashyam Bhusal and Bhim Acharya have said the PM's proposal could be a basis for solving the internal problems.
It is obvious that the UML will be the biggest loser in the whole course. Moreover, Madhav Nepal and JN Khanal would be called the demolisher of the party. Oli appealed to Nepal to unite the party with clear proposal, but instead of responding to it positively, the latter went to meet Deuba and Prachanda to discuss the matter. What an unfortunate act?
Let's hope that wisdom will ultimately prevail and Nepal and his colleagues will return to the fold, agreeing with the Prime Minister's proposal.

(Khanal is consulting editor at Gorkhapatra Corporation.