By Our Political Analyst
There were doubts about the success of the unification process between the UML and the Maoist Center due to Prime Minister and UML chairman KP Sharma Oli’s working style and in his cornering of the Maoist leaders.
Maoist leaders had become suspicious about Oli’s working style as Oli transferred secretaries without information to the Maoist ministers; Oli didn’t give necessary importance to the Maoist ministers during the Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s Nepal visit. Even during the ceremony of laying down the foundation stone of the Arun Project, the Maoist Energy minister was not invited. At the dinner hosted by the PM in honour of his Indian counterpart also, the Maoist ministers were not invited. Accordingly, at the civic reception ceremony in honour of Modi, organised by the Kathmandu Metropolis City, the Maoist ministers were not seen.
What was Dahal thinking?:
Maoist Center chairman Pushpakamal Dahal was of the view that KP Oli would not respond to his demands – handing over the post of PM to him by Oli after two years and also supporting Dahal as the chairman of the unified party from the unification national convention. Therefore, Dahal was consulting with his circle of Maoist leaders calculating the upcoming political scenario. As both the parties during the election campaign, had expressed the commitment that they would go for unification of both the parties, Dahal was unable to run-away from the unification process, but he was not in a mood to go for unification without ensuring his political future.
Therefore, the Maoist leaders were saying that there was no possibility of unification in the ‘as-it-is’ situation.
Dahal was of the view to continue talks with Oli and continue the present alliance until two years and after two years, breaking the alliance with the UML by developing a new alliance with the Nepali Congress and other democratic forces.
Through this initiative, Dahal could have become the PM for the rest three years.
On 15 May, Oli invited Dahal for a one-on-one talks. Dahal was not hopeful about his concerns being seriously taken by Oli, however, he could not say No to the meeting. At the meeting when Dahal expressed his views about his political future, Oli became very positive. Oli assured Dahal by saying that he will try to develop an environment for a consensus on Dahal in the election of party chairman from the unification national convention. If there will be no environment of unopposed election, in that case, Oli would support Dahal. Also, Oli, without hesitation, said that he would handover the PM’s post to Dahal along with supporting him as the new party chairman. After Oli’s commitment, Dahal became ready to complete the unification process.
Since Oli paid a state visit to India, his image as a patriotic leader was damaged. It further declined since Indian PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Nepal. None other than NC president Sher Bahadur Deuba blamed Oli for totally surrendering to India. Nepali water resources experts seriously opposed the handing over of the Arun-3 project to India. They were also suspicious about the beginning of inland waterways, which could be a serious design of Indians for capturing big Nepali rivers.
After Energy Minister Barshaman Pun made public a whitepaper on hydro-power stating that the government would construct the Budhigandaki project by itself, the Chinese also became suspicious about Oli’s role. For damage control and to divert the increasing negative trend against him, Oli had to do something new. Therefore, Oli gave a dramatic twist on the unification talks by finally agreeing with Dahal for the merger of UML and Maoist Center into Nepal Communist Party.
Both the leaders became ready to announce the establishment of the Nepal Communist Party coinciding with the death anniversary of UML leaders Madan Bhandary and Jibnath Aashrit on 17 May.
Dahal was also surprised from the sudden change in Oli’s behavior. However, Dahal has analysed that Oli, to escape from the ongoing crisis within the party and also to escape from the increasing charge of surrendering to India, he has become more flexible.
Dahal has analysed that it is almost certain that the present unification will be beneficial for him.
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