Party merger ‘difficult’ before PM’s India visit

  • PUCC meeting assigned to sort all outstanding issues
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu
Shrestha: If everything is settled at the PUCC meeting on April 2 and 3, an announcement is probable on April 4. But it’s difficult for outstanding issues to be resolved in such a short period

Mar 30, 2018-Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli had wished to announce the merger of the two ruling communist allies before his maiden foreign visit after taking office last month but things are getting knottier as the unification process advances.

With some major issues still unclear, leaders from the CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) claimed that announcement of the merger before the PM’s planned departure for New Delhi on April 6 seems difficult.

“If everything is sorted by the meeting of the Party Unification Coordination Committee scheduled for April 2 and 3, the announcement is probable on April 4. But it’s difficult for the outstanding issues to be resolved in such a short period,” said senior Maoist Centre leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who is also a PUCC member.

Lately, all the Maoist Centre leaders have claimed unequivocally that the strength of the two parties in the latest polls should be no basis for the merger. They argue that the Maoists had emerged as the single largest party ten years ago.

Maoist Centre Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said earlier this week that his party would not go for unification even if it got one member less than the UML.

At a political training for senior leaders of the party-aligned All Nepal National Independent Students Union Revolutionary in Sanothimi on Monday, Dahal said the new outfit would have 50-50 share from the two parties.

However, UML leaders point to the 60:40 sharing of candidates between the UML and the Maoist Centre in the federal and provincial elections held in November-December last year. The UML won 70 percent seats, which leaders of the larger ally cite to claim a greater share in the unified party. Some UML leaders, however, are okay with a 60:40 arrangement in new party committees as that was the basis for the electoral alliance.

The taskforce led by Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa has determined the size of the unified party committees but the PUCC would discuss the ratio of representation from the two parties.

The parties have yet to decide the election symbol for the new force as they press for their respective symbols—the UML’s ‘sun’ and the Maoist Centre’s ‘hammer and sickle inside a circle’.

As decided by the taskforce, the Communist Party of Nepal will have a 299-strong central committee, a 99-member politburo and a 33-member standing committee. The taskforce will submit its report to the PUCC for endorsement.

Another panel, led by Madhav Kumar Nepal, is giving finishing touches to the political document. However, Prime Minister’s Chief Political Advisor Bishnu Rimal said both the parties were working hard to announce the merger before Oli leaves for India but other UML leaders in the PUCC claimed that there was no connection between the visit and party unification.

CPN in making

299-strong central committee

99-member politburo

33-member standing committee

Published: 30-03-2018 08:40

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