Kathmandu, February 13
Nepal Communist Party (NCP) Co-chairman KP Sharma Oli was not with Pushpa Kamal Dahal, another co-chair of the ruling NCP, when the party celebrated People’s War Day today at its headquarters. Oli skipped the programme, stating that he had to attend another public event.
This indicates that members of the erstwhile CPN-UML, which merged with CPN-Maoist Centre to form the NCP, were not supportive of the party’s decision to mark the People’s War Day.
Several key members of the erstwhile CPN-UML remained absent from the programme, including Madhav Kumar Nepal, who said the party had never taken a formal decision to hold an event to mark the anniversary of People’s War.
Nepal’s statement comes a few days after NCP General Secretary Bishnu Poudel issued a circular directing central and provincial committees of the party to organise events to commemorate martyrs of the People’s War and mass movement on February 13. The provincial committees had then directed the local level committees to mark the event.
The NCP decided to organise the event at its headquarters in Dhumbarahi. But Oli skipped the programme, stating he had to launch the PM Employment Programme, a scheme that pledges allowances to the unemployed. Oli sent Poudel and Subas Nembang to attend the event.
Members of the erstwhile CPN-MC, who are now part of the NCP, said Oli did not want to disappoint members of the erstwhile CPN-UML who were against the idea of marking People’s War Day.
Dahal, meanwhile, tried to convince former UML leaders and cadres that People’s War and Mass Movement were needed to abolish the feudal system. Dahal also praised late UML leader Madan Kumar Bhandari and the role he played in taking ‘Nepal to the path of prosperity’.
Addressing today’s programme at Dhumbarahi, Dahal said the marking of People’s War Day by the unified party had instilled a positive energy in the party.
Before attending the Dhumbarahi event, Dahal went to Paris Danda, the headquarters of the erstwhile CPN-MC, and placed a wreath at the martyrs’ memorial.
None of the leaders representing the former UML attended the Paris Danda event. Even in the Dhumbarahi programme, most attendees were from former CPN-MC.
NCP General Secretary Bishnu Poudel delivered a short speech, while Bamdev Gautam, also from the UML, left the venue even before the event started. Subas Chandra Nembang, Amrit Kumar Bohora, Yubraj Karki and Beduram Bhusal, all from the UML, however, attended the programme till the end.
Although both the UML and CPN-MC believed in the communist ideology, the UML favoured multi-party democratic system after the fall of Panchayat in 1990, while the CPN-MC waged a war against the state from 1996 to 2006 to establish a communist regime. The CPN-MC adhered to multi-party democratic system after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006. The two parties had been rivals until their unification.
“Those schools of thought came together with an electoral alliance before unifying the party on the death anniversary of late UML leader Madan Kumar Bhandari,” Dahal said. Dahal said Oli had given his consent to organise the event, but he could not attend the programme due to the government’s busy schedule.
A version of this article appears in print on February 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.