Maoist leaders discontent with CPN-UML’s offer

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu
The hours-long meetings between the two top leaders over two days are said to have failed to yield a concrete outcome

Jan 29, 2018-CPN (Maoist Centre) leaders have expressed discontent over the proposal floated by the CPN-UML on unification between the two communist parties.

Maoist sources claimed that the UML was not ready to share any of the major positions with the party such as the President, prime minister and the party chairman. Other seats on the government, provincial cabinets and party committees would also be shared on a 70:30 ratio.

UML leaders say the two parties divided candidates in the federal and provincial elections on a 60:40 basis but the ratio of winning candidates from the two parties came out to be 70:30. Therefore, UML leaders are for sharing the seats 70:30 with the Maoist Centre.

Sources claimed that the UML has proposed the unified party’s joint chair for Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. UML chief KP Sharma Oli is learnt to have staked his claim to the unified party’s chair while Dahal would get to lead the party as acting 

chairman when Oli heads the government.

The hours-long meetings between the two top leaders over two days are said to have failed to yield a concrete outcome. As a result, the Party Unification Coordination Committee has not formed the task forces for ironing out organisational and ideological issues.

At the PUCC, the UML has proposed that the party is ready to share the Vice President, deputy prime minister, Speaker and party joint-chairman positions with the Maoists.

Barring a handful of leaders including Gopal Kirati and Biswobhakta Dulal ‘Aahuti’, all the leaders of the Maoist Centre are committed to party unification and have been supporting the leadership in its goal but some second-rung leaders seem to be acting against the spirit of unity, claimed a senior Maoist leader.

According to a member of the PUCC, the UML is also reluctant to recognise Maoism while arguing that the Maoist Centre was already following the People’s Multi-party Democracy--the guiding principle of the UML.

This means the UML wants its existing ideology to be retained by the unified party. “The fact is that you feel uncomfortable realising it,” a source quoted UML leaders as telling joint meetings.

UML Chair Oli reached Maoist Chair Dahal’s Khumaltar-based residence on Sunday for a four-hour long discussion. On Friday evening, after consultation with the two leaders, Subas Nembang and Ram Bahadur Thapa had negotiated common ground for party unity.

Discontent in Maoist leaders is being aired at public forums. As a marker of this, former Maoist minister and a contender for Province 6 chief minister’s post Mahendra Bahadur Shahi has said unity would be impossible unless the UML was ready to accept Dahal as the chairman of the unified party.

“It’s clear that unity is possible only if the UML is ready to offer [us] the party chair,” Shahi said at the Reporters’ Club here on Saturday.

A member of the PUCC, Maoist leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha has clarified that there are ideological and political differences but they would be resolved through the unity national convention.

Talking to reporters in Gorkha on Saturday, Shrestha said that a merger amid 

dissatisfaction among party leaders would weaken the new party.

UML leaders have said they do not want a hasty unification. “We want to clear all confusions before that,” said UML leader Pradeep Gyawali.

At a press meet on Thursday, Oli said the unification process would not be messed up with government formation, hinting that the new prime minister can also become chairman of the unified party.

Despite the odds, Maoist Chairman Dahal, however, claims that the two parties will unite before a new government is formed.

Published: 29-01-2018 07:35

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