In keeping with the pre-poll promise to merge and form a united party, the Communist Party of Nepal-United Marxist Leninist and the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist Centre have agreed on a blueprint to unite and form the Communist Party of Nepal. The ideological fineprint will be worked out in the coming days, but the modalities of sharing power have been sorted out. The two party chiefs, K P Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal, will take turns to run the government and jointly manage the party.
The formation of the CPN is unique since communist parties, historically prone to splits, are rarely known to bury differences and unite. There is not much scope for dissent in the Leninist command structure, which demands total obedience to the party and the party apparat. From expulsion to annihilation, communist parties in the erstwhile Soviet Union, China, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, devised many ways to manage dissent. Exits and departures were perceived as the ultimate betrayal of the Cause and the renegades were treated worse than class enemies.
Oli and Dahal seem to be ploughing a new path in the history of the communist movement by steering their respective parties, sworn enemies till the other day, towards burying their differences. Whether the lofty aim of building socialism in Nepal will persuade leaders and cadres to rise above the pulls and pressures of power and office and march in unison is anybody’s guess.
The Nepal developments should please at least the CPI in India. The mothership of Indian communism has been pleading for reunification ever since its left wing walked out in 1964 to form the CPM. The CPM, the more puritanical outfit, has so far refused, citing ideological nuances. With electoral irrelevance staring at them, they could perhaps consider learning a trick or two from their counterparts in Nepal.