‘Parties were in continuous talks for merger deal’

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Oct 4, 2017-The alliance deal between CPN-UML, CPN (Maoist Centre) and Naya Shakti Party-Nepal was a product of a continuous dialogue between the two parties at different levels, according to a UML leader. 

While their decision to merge after contesting in the upcoming parliamentary and provincial elections as electoral allies has surprised many people, the leaders of the parties had long been planning for this day, UML Secretary Yogesh Bhattarai said on Tuesday evening.

Even when the parties seemed and acted as bitter rivals, Bhattarai said the groundwork was still being laid for the unification between the two parties.  

The last two weeks were particularly crucial, as the top leaders held several rounds of one-on-one meetings to finalise the deal, he added.

Senior Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha and UML’s Vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam are said to be the main architects of the deal. Janardan Sharma, also the current home minister, from the Maoist Centre and UML Deputy General Secretary Bishnu Poudel were involved in preparing the preliminary draft of the agreement.

Maoist leader Shrestha said the preparations had started before the first phase of local polls, but the agreement could not be reached as the UML “undermined the strength of Maoist Centre.” 

“The UML realised that they cannot be in the government without Maoist Centre and they were ready for the respectable share,” Shrestha said. 

UML Secretary Bhattarai said: “With the polls just round the corner, we are more focused on electoral alliance now.”

Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had also told a group of journalists a few months earlier that the unity among leftist forces in the country was inevitable. Then, the common understanding was that the Maoist Centre was talking about unifying the left-leaning fringe parties. The UML was never in the picture, for the two parties had had a relationship marked with more downs than ups.  

During the latest central committee meeting of the UML, senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal had criticised party Chairman KP Sharma Oli, saying that breaking alliance with Maoist Centre had cost the party a lot.

Nepal, also a former prime minister, had urged the party leadership to seriously consider forging a leftist alliance.

Published: 04-10-2017 07:38

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