By Maila Baje
Behind the demonstrable post-election squabbling may lurk any number of things. The leftist alliance’s resounding poll victory has laid bare the perils of political preemption as an electoral strategy. The unification of the Marxist-Leninist and Maoist factions of our communist fraternity is proving trickier than their votaries made it out to be.
In retrospect, the one-constituency- one- comrade formula may have done more to garner seats for the comrades than any abiding eagerness among voters to see the creation of one dominant communist party.
Top leaders of both factions have begun voicing their disenchantment with the unification process, but have so far kept their words measured. Our putative prime minister, K.P. Oli, continues to use his trademark allegories and parables. His presumed successor two and a half years down the road, Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ insists on the historical inevitability of unification because, well, the parties have burned their bridges back home.
The Maoist chief concedes snags in the formal unification process. But informal efforts have produced consequential results that should be apparent any day. So much so that it has given Dahal the humility to acknowledge that he is second only to Prithvi Narayan Shah as an agent of change.
Probe any further and Dahal, true to form, resorts to deflection, accusing the Nepali Congress of backtracking from a prior agreement on the modality of National Assembly elections. The Nepali Congress, if we are to believe our top comrade, refuses to abide by the understanding flowing from the State Affairs Committee in Parliament to adopt the majority system for the polls to the upper house.
Maybe the Nepali Congress, in advocating a single transferable voting system today, is breaching that understanding because it feels entitled – like everyone else seems to do in the changed political context – to second and third thoughts.
Dahal believes the Nepali Congress about-face stems from its fear that it might not win a single seat in the upper house. So he wants Oli to show enough magnanimity that would result in that party getting two or three seats and elevating the discourse in that chamber.
But who knows what the real hindrances are? Maybe our comrades are being made to provide assurances and commitments to alien quarters that are in substance extraneous to the imperatives of our air and water. After all, President Xi Jinping has intimated that he may, after all, pay a visit to Nepal once the communist government takes office.
And Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it a point to club together Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Oli and Dahal in a congratulatory overture aimed more at the process than the outcome of the election. The other international players of substance are too entangled in their own contradictions vis-à-vis Nepal’s profoundly divergent neighbors. That doesn’t mean those third players aren’t eyeing their own interests.
We will have a new popularly elected government sooner or later. It would all depend on how soon our comrades succeed in providing those aforesaid commitments in a way that seems both plausible and enforceable to the recipients. In the meantime, let’s savor the public posturing in all its (dis)ingenuity.
Seeing what we don’t see
By Maila Baje