Maoist-Center hell bent on perpetuating power, election results be damned

Here is a brief commentary on the fall and fall of CPN (Maoist-Center), a political party that used to claim itself as the most revolutionary force in Nepal until a decade ago.

Kishor Dahal

  • Read Time 4 min.

Kathmandu: Before the federal election, the parties in the ruling alliance were confident about forming the new government. They believed they would win with comfortable margins to keep the current alliance intact in the new government set up. The ruling alliance of five parties in no way had thought the election results would give them a surprise.

The CPN-Maoist Center, the communist party which has continuously been in the government after the first Constituent Assembly elections, looked more confident about their victory  than any other parties. In almost all the interviews, its chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ had said Maoist Centre would be the decisive force to form the government.

However, the election results changed the dynamics. The party just got 18 seats through first-past-the-post (FPTP) election, while it expects to bag another 13 seats through the proportional representation (PR) category. This means, Maoist Center, once the biggest party in Nepal, will have a strength of just 33 seats and would not be a decisive force as forecasted by ‘Prachanda’.

Post-election, Maoist Center has concluded a two-day long meeting of office bearers on Sunday.

The meeting had apparently two agendas–reviewing the election results and discussing the efforts with regard to new government formation. Senior leaders of the party delivered their opinions during the meeting. 

After the meeting, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, vice chair of the party, informed that the meeting was focused on initial review of the election results. According to him, the party could not get the desired seats in the federal parliament elections. “The party has not decided to break the existing alliance. We have, however, kept other ‘options’ open for the further way ahead,” he said.

The remark by Mahara has created a vibration in the political sphere where parties are in the race to form a new government following the federal parliament and provincial assemblies elections. 

The remark by the top Maoist leader has clearly indicated that the party has now started the calculation over the possibility of forming a new government. It means the party is now weighing the gain and loss of continuing the existing alliance or forming the new one. 

Erosion of strength 

Consecutive election results have resulted in the erosion of the strength and reputation of the Maoist-Center. This time, the party has secured victory in only 10 percent constituencies. It may be noted that Maoist party had faced similar results in the 2013 elections in which the party had performed dismally. This time the total seats won by the party is some five times less compared to the 2008 elections and almost half compared to 2017 elections. It is noteworthy to mention here that the party had contested the last two elections–2017 and 2022–in alliance with other parties. Thus, the real strength of the party can be measured through the votes under the proportional representation system. 

Party’s vice chair Matrika Yadav confessed that the overall performance of the party has eroded since the 2013 elections. During the meeting of office bearers, he reiterated his stand. “Until and unless the party gets reformed, we will continue to see decline. In fact, our party is yet to get institutionalized. The situation is even worse in Madhesh.”

Losing some elections does not make a huge difference, he said. “The main point is that we need to be independent. We should not always rely on others [to secure victory]. Instead, we should stand on our own ground as a party.”

Strengthening the party structure, however, has long remained a pending agenda in Maoist-Center. The party had discussed becoming independent immediately after its split from the then Nepal Communist Party. The discussion was focused on strengthening the party’s structure and ensuring more seats during the elections. In between, the party held its general assembly the way its supremo Prachanda wanted. Prachanda was again elected to the post of chairperson. 

Following the party assembly, Prachanda formed the party structure according to his own wish. The party’s position, however, has further shrunk in the latest elections. 

From his gesture, it can be observed that Prachanda is not bothered by the eroded reputation of his party. His way of celebration at his residence in Khumaltar speaks volumes about his indifference to the party’s eroded performance. Expressing his dissatisfaction over the trend, dissident leader Lekhnath Neupane wrote on Facebook: ‘The party has been reduced to 17 seats as the tickets were distributed to the unpopular leaders. Party’s popular votes have been diverted to the traditional force like Rastriya Prajatantra Party which has got the new leadership. In the meantime, the party’s chairperson is busy attending congratulatory meetings. This is not good from a materialistic and moral perspective’.

Lust for power 

The CPN (Maoist Centre) has lost a massive number of popular votes. Even in such a situation, the party still wants to enjoy the taste of being in power rather than making the leaders and the party itself accountable and transparent. The recent meetings of the top ranking Maoist leaders show the party in no way is prioritizing accountability and good politics.

Prachanda wants to continue the ruling alliance. But the statement of Mahara can be decoded in three different ways. First, the party can even form an alliance with the CPN-UML to form the government. Second, it wants to exert pressure on Nepali Congress to be in government. Third, it wants to be in power at any cost.According to Mumaram Khanal, a political analyst, the greed of Prachanda to become the Prime Minister has severely weakened the CPN (Maoist Center). “The party will be extinct in the next election if Prachanda’s greed continues,” he told Nepal Live Today. “This is the last chance for the party and its chair Prachanda to mend their ways. For this, Maoist party has to be a strong opposition.”