Banner row at UML-Maoist event

Kathmandu

Apr 23, 2018-It was supposed to be a historic day. But it turned out to be a day of a missed deadline and a day new promises were made for yet another deadline.The CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Centre) had decided that the day marking the birth anniversary of the Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and the establishment of Nepal’s first communist party would also be the time for Nepal’s two largest communist parties to come together. It was not to be.Maoist cadres questioned the wisdom of putting up pictures of three communist leaders—Pushpa Lal Shrestha, Madan Bhandari and Manmohan Adhikari—on the banner at what was to be a unity parade. They wanted also Mao and Lenin on it. It was a day of long ideological debate. And it brought to the fore the deep differences between the two parties.

The function planned by the Party Unification Coordination Committee (PUCC) to begin at noon was delayed by four long hours. It resumed only after the Maoist Centre brought a separate banner having pictures of Mao, Lenin, Engels, Marx and Stalin.

Earlier, Maoist cadres had pulled down the banner which was reinstalled after the two parties agreed to two separate banners.

Some participants attending the function took the incident as an indication that cadres of the two parties were not prepared for unification yet.

The function was organised to mark 69th establishment day of the Communist Party of Nepal. The two parties have already agreed to adopt the ideology of Marxism and Leninism. Therefore, two different photos of Karl Marx and VI Lenin were kept on a chair.

Addressing the event, Prime Minister and UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli said that having some hitches before unification was normal. He claimed that there was no backtracking on merger as the deck had been cleared. “Everything becomes lovely once the bride goes to the bridegroom’s house,” Oli said, likening the situation to the two parties preparing to wed.

Leaders speaking on the occasion stressed that the UML was ready for merger so it was up to the Maoist Centre to decide the date of unification.

However, Maoist Centre Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal said the two top leaders had agreed to finalise the unification process in an equal, respectable and justifiable manner. He said the two parties would give the people a surprise unification.

Dahal is under pressure from party colleagues that the unity must be respectable with equal Maoist share at the central committee and in other major government and party positions. UML leader Bishnu Poudel demanded that Chairman Dahal announce when unification will happen, suggesting that the ball is in the Maoist court.

Both Oli and Dahal clarified that they had been making last-ditch efforts to solve outstanding issues and to announce party unification.

Published: 23-04-2018 06:40

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