Kathmandu, April 21
CPN-Maoist Centre Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and CPN-UML Chair and Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli held talks today to hammer out differences over party unification issues, but failed to agree.
Dahal’s personal aide and CPN-MC Politburo member Jokh Bahadur Mahara said the discussion was positive but there was no agreement. He said unification between two parties that carry very different legacies, histories and ideologies would naturally take time. “The two parties have realised the need to hold serious discussion on ideology, strategies, work plan, organisational structures and leadership,” he added.
Oli and Dahal met after consulting their party leaders, but failed to resolve some key issues, namely: ratio of representation in the unified party’s structures and the party’s election symbol. They also disagreed on whether the phrase ‘people’s war’ should be incorporated in the preamble of the unified party’s statute.
According to senior CPN-MC leader Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Oli and Dahal are trying to narrow down differences and both leaders will give a positive message about party unity tomorrow when they address a programme organised by Party Unification Coordination Committee in Kathmandu to mark the birth anniversary of communist leader late Vladimir Lenin and establishment of the Communist Party of Nepal.
“They will tell the cadres and leaders of both parties not to doubt their efforts to unify their parties and that some organisational and technical issues are still being discussed. We will finalise them soon and announce unity,” Shrestha told THT. He added that party unification would be announced after a few rounds of negotiations.
UML leader Krishna Gopal Shrestha said Oli and Dahal would deliver positive and similar opinions about party unification tomorrow. “These two leaders will take the final decisions on party unity” Shrestha said. “Tomorrow will be historic for us as there won’t be any election symbol — neither the sun (the UML’s election symbol) nor hammer and sickle in a circle (CPN-MC’s election symbol) but only the communist party flag at the programme. Both leaders will tell the audience that no one can stop the two parties’ unity.”
CPN-MC has called a party office bearers meeting tomorrow morning and the Party Unification Coordination Committee is likely to meet tomorrow morning to prepare for the joint programme.
Left alliance leaders said Oli and Dahal will say that the two parties will be united soon, but will not disclose the date for the same. According to left alliance leaders, unity may be announced on International May Day or Karl Marx’s birth anniversary on May 5.
Earlier, the left alliance task force led by Ram Bahadur Thapa had recommended that party unity be announced on April 22. The PUCC meeting on April 17 had ruled out left unification on April 22.
Oli and Dahal have intensified party unification discussions, but have not been able to iron out differences on key issues.
The two parties had forged electoral alliance on October 3 and signed a seven-point agreement on February 19, saying the unified party’s name would be Nepal Communist Party.
A version of this article appears in print on April 22, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.