Love me true

Soon after the release of Sher Bahadur Deuba, president of the breakaway Nepali Congress (Democratic), speculation about the possibility of a reunion of the two Nepali Congresses has taken an upswing, with the meeting on Wednesday between him and Nepali Congress president Girija Prasad Koirala. One thing they agreed about was that the task of unification was not an easy one given the ‘technical complexities’. However, describing unification as the ‘demand of the times’, Koirala said that the process has got underway with the meeting. Koirala also linked the unification talks with “how we take the movement forward and make it successful”. Deuba said, “All I can say now is that unification is possible”.

Let us believe they will also sort out the complexities such as making massive adjustments of office-bearers from the central to the village level. How will that benefit the Nepali people? In fact, people outside the two parties have lost interest whether these parties remain divided or united. Certainly, if they decided to unite again, the leaders would be likely to claim the act to be one for the restoration and strengthening of democracy, or even for the protection of the country’s sovereignty. This is their way and it applies to other political parties, too. Koirala and Deuba had not been on speaking terms for quite some time till recently.

It is common knowledge that they split up not on principles but to boost their egos and serve personal interests. In bringing the country to the present pass, of constitutional and political impasse, the role of the Congress government headed by Deuba has been instrumental, and Koirala, too, as the party president, cannot disown his share of responsibility. As many charge, Deuba allowed himself to be used in his ambition to sideline Koirala and even to capture the parent party a la Kamal Thapa in the RPP as the then tussle for the control of the party showed. There are apprehensions among some people that the talk of unification could well be part of extraneous effort to add new variables to the political equations in the country, for example, to wean as many mainstream parties as possible away from their 12-point understanding with the Maoists. They take Deuba’s recent reservations, after some three months of silence on the agreement, to be an indication of this. The talk of unification might be of interest to the rank and file of the two parties, but the general public appear to be simply uninterested, given their past records, including particularly Deuba’s role in causing incalculable damage to democracy.