Left-wing parties in Nepal have always found a large communist force a rather attractive idea. An effort in 2017 had successfully resulted in the formation of the Communist Party of Nepal (NCP) after the merger between the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Center).
Although Baburam Bhattarai, a former Maoist leader, also initially planned to join the grand communist alliance, he later abandoned the idea.
The party, however, failed to sustain itself. Infighting led to its implosion, formalized by the Supreme Court, despite some visible Chinese efforts to broker a deal among top NCP leaders.
The Communists of the NCP are currently dispersed. Two great party leaders lead the Maoist Center and the CPN (Unified Socialist), after their break with the CPN-UML led by the KP Sharma Oli. Both parties are now part of the ruling coalition led by the Nepalese Congress.
With the general and provincial elections approaching, the partners in power are making every effort to maintain their electoral alliance during the federal and provincial elections. And the UML is exploring options to break up the coalition.
One way to break up the coalition is to form a left alliance again. Insiders say that while all these Communist leaders want such a united force, no one wants to take the first step, fearing it will make them look inferior.
In the midst of all this, Bamdev Gautam, a former UML executive, started a new party—Communist Party of Nepal-Ekata Rastriya Abhiyan. Gautam is one of the leaders who strongly advocated the rapprochement of communist forces. another leader who talked about the idea is Jhala Nath Khanal, currently the top leader of the United Socialist.
A Nepali Congress leader said he has noticed an increase in activity recently that appears to be aimed at breaking up the current coalition and bringing together communist forces.
The Congress leader said the party had learned that in recent weeks the Maoist Centre, the Socialist United Party and the Janata Samajbadi Party had held a series of meetings at an apartment in Lalitpur.
“Some outside forces also seem to be trying to bring the Communists together,” said the leader who requested anonymity, pausing before clarifying who the “outside forces” are. “The recent move of [Bamdev] Gautam to form a party also aims to bring communists together. So things add up.
But it can be inferred that the Congress leader was referring to the Chinese who in the past did everything possible to save the CPN. Recently, the head of the Communist Party of China (CCP) International Liaison Department held virtual talks with Maoist Chairman Dahal and UML Chairman Oli.
According to a statement released by the CCP, Liu Jianchao, head of the party’s international department, told both Dahal and Oli that the CCP and the CPN (Maoist Center) and the CPN-UML have similar concepts and sentiments. , and are willing to strengthen party-to-party exchanges, promote party-to-party cooperation, strengthen people-to-people ties, and respect each other’s fundamental interests and major concerns while playing a role in promoting the healthy and stable development of Sino-Nepalese relations.
Leaders of communist forces say the left alliance is an idea no one denies, but a move towards it doesn’t seem feasible at the moment.
“The UML’s attempt to break up the coalition is only natural, like a desperate move,” said Beduram Bhusal, general secretary of the United Socialist. “But we are currently in talks to form a left alliance without the UML. It could be between the Maoist Centre, the United Socialist and the Janata Samajbadi Party.
Senior leaders of the Maoist Centre, United Socialist and Janata Samajbadi have met regularly to discuss strategies for the upcoming elections.
According to Bhusal, the UML sent proposals to his party, the United Socialist, and to the Maoist Center for a possible electoral alliance, if not a large left alliance.
“But we are unable to forge any alliance with UML for several reasons,” Bhusal said.
UML executives, however, deny launching any antennae. The main opposition declared that it would participate alone in the general and provincial elections. However, he is currently in talks with the Loktantrik Samajbadi party, led by Mahantha Thakur, and the Janamat party, led by CK Raut, which once led a secessionist movement. These two parties, however, have small bases.
The Congress leader said the party was well aware of what was happening.
“Recent activities show that something is afoot,” he said. “As we were busy with our own party business, these things have not yet been discussed in detail.”
Congress Speaker and Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is making every effort to keep the coalition intact in order to go to the polls as part of an alliance. Despite criticism from his party members, Deuba managed to bulldoze his decision to fight the May 13 local elections as part of an alliance. The Congress and the Maoist Center both benefited from the decision. The United Socialist and the Janata Samajbadi did not and remained discouraged.
Deuba clearly doesn’t want a repeat of 2017 when the Communists swept the election, leaving Congress to let its wounds sink after a heavy defeat.
The Janata Samajbadi is currently on the verge of tipping over, as the differences between its Yadav and Bhattarai chairs have reached a tipping point. They are on the verge of breaking up. It’s unclear how this might impact the coalition, but some say the political dynamic could change as Bhattarai and Dahal are also in talks for a possible reunion.
Although UML President Oli has repeatedly said that it is not difficult to bring about a split in the ruling coalition, he has not revealed how it can be done. He even once said that given the way the communist alliance formed suddenly in 2017, a repeat cannot be ruled out.
Pradeep Gyawali, deputy general secretary of the UML, however, ruled out a left-wing alliance, citing the circumstances.
“Since Dahal is comfortable with Deuba, I don’t think there is any possibility of a leftist alliance,” said Gyawali, considered close to Oli. “But sharing the seats will not be easy for the coalition partners.”
According to Gyawali, Congress must contest the elections alone, not because it will make it easier for the UML, but because the way it plans the elections under an alliance of coalition partners promotes unsound politics .
When asked if his party leaders were in talks with other communist forces like the Maoist Center and the United Socialist, Gyawali said there was nothing wrong.
“It’s completely normal for [political] parties to dialogue,” Gyawali said. “Political rivalry may be there, but parties engage with each other.”
Civil society member Shyam Shrestha said there was still a 50/50 chance of a left wing alliance and it all depended on how the Nepalese Congress Treats the Maoist Center regarding the sharing of electoral seats.
“I think that if the Congress provides a justifiable number of seats in the next elections, the Maoist Center will remain in the existing coalition. But if the Congress tries to push the Maoists into a corner, there could be an electoral alliance between the UML and the Maoist Center,” Shrestha told the Post. “There are concerns in Congress that it should not concede more seats to left-wing parties and the UML appears to be reaching out to the Maoist Center.”