Commentary | Is communist alliance in the making?

Poor performance of CPN (Maoist Center) in federal parliament polls and desperation of KP Oli and CPN-UML leaders to return to power indicate the possibility. But observers are not so sure.

From left, CPN-UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli, CPN (Maoist Chairman) Pushpa Kama Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and CPN (Unified Socialist) Chairman Madhav Kumar Nepal.

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Nearly two years after formal split, intense acrimonious exchanges and endless name calling and blame games, major communist forces are reportedly mulling the possibility of coming together. 

This development follows what appears like a drubbing for two major communist forces of the country–CPN-UML and Maoist Center, who, until March, 2021, were a single entity called Nepal Communist Party (NCP).  

In the vote count of federal parliament elections, out of 156 seats whose results have been declared, Nepali Congress has won over 51 seats while CPN-UML and Maoist Center lag behind with 41 and 17 seats respectively. 

Alliance between the UML and Maoist Center is one remote but likely scenario as election results so far show that no political party will secure absolute majority in the parliament. 

Why alliance?

Some Maoist leaders are not happy with the election results and they have accused Nepali Congress of not being honest to, what they call, the cause of Democratic-Left alliance, a five-party alliance including NC, Maoist, CPN (Unified Socialist), Rashtriya Janamorcha, Loktantrik Samajbadi Party. Maoist leaders seem particularly unhappy with Nepali Congress as they believe that the Nepali Congress could not ensure vote transfer to left parties despite being in the alliance.  

The initial comments of Maoist leaders indicate that they now have realized the need for reviving communist alliance. Speculations of possible communist alliance are grounded on two recent events. Right after winning the election from Rautahat, Madhav Kumar Nepal, the leader of CPN(Unified Socialist), said alliance can be possible with ideologically like-minded forces.

Unified Socialist is a breakaway faction from CPN-UML. 

On Thursday, UML chief KP Sharma Oli made a telephone call to Maoist Center chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and reportedly proposed an alliance between the two forces in the days to come. Dahal and Oli are not said to have been even on talking terms since the former helped topple the government led by the latter in.

Baburam Bhattarai, a former prime minister and chairman of the Nepal Samajbadi Party, said that there is no “formal understanding” between Deuba and Dahal on who will be the prime minister immediately after the elections.

So is the left alliance a possible political development in Nepal? Experts do not rule out the possibility but don’t think it will materialize any time soon. “In principle, I am in favor of the left alliance but do not see its possibility,” wrote Gopal Khanal, a foreign affairs commentator who also served as the senior foreign affairs expert to former Prime Minister K P Oli, on Twitter. “Because there has not yet been an adverse situation for the left leaders to come to that realization.” 

As the parties which follow similar ideological lines, alliance between the communist forces would be natural instead of the alliance between two diametrically opposite ideological forces like Nepali Congress and communist parties which is unnatural, argued Dr Bimala Rai Paudyal, who is the member of National Assembly from CPN-UML.  “I would say that there should be an alliance between the communists because that would also be natural,” she said. “I actually hope for it too but parties do not seem to care much about ideologies. Yet,  I do not rule out the possibility.”