The prospects of Nepali Congress (NC) and NC-D coming under one flag have become brighter with Sashanka Koirala of the NC taking initiative over the matter, although somewhat belatedly. According to THT news of March 20, Dr Koirala has broached the matter to NC-D president Sher Bahadur Deuba when he met the latter at his residence on Saturday.
Although Deuba has not said anything specific on the topic, it can be hoped in the prevailing difficult situation that he would be positive towards the idea. NC president Girija Prasad Koirala is also not averse to the idea while former NC president Krishna Prasad Bhattarai is wholly prepared to reconsolidate the party by unifying the two factions. Meanwhile, the UK, the US and India, besides other donor countries, are advising the two parties to unite and make concerted efforts towards restoring democracy.
NC is a historical party, which has faced splits for more than once. The party had broken up for personal reasons of the leaders than for the sake of principle and ideology in the mid-50s. It split up for three times, the first time due to sharp spats between the two Koirala brothers, Matrika and Bishweswar, the former floating his own party, namely the Nepal Praja Party. Again, K I Singh, the one-time leader during the NC-led 1950 anti-Rana movement, also broke away from the party owing to his radical disagreement over the truce, called the Delhi Pact, and formed the Samyukta Prajatantra Party. For the third time, prominent leaders of the NC such as Balchandra Sharma, Bhadrakali Mishra, Sri Bhadra Sharma (Khanal) and Rajeswar Devkota quit the NC and joined the Nepal Praja Parishad of Tanka Prasad Acharya.
These events had weakened the party. Even then it has managed to remain yet as one of the two major parties in the country, the other one being the CPN-UML. However, following October 4, 2002, the NC again faced a split into two groups for reasons of the indiscretion of top leaders, including Koirala and Deuba.
As of today, the leaders responsible for the break-up seem to be repenting over the party division. It is good that they have felt the need to forge the two factions into one. After all, the event of the NC breaking up is a case of a house being divided. However, divided once, the NC can yet unite for its own good and for the good of the democratic objectives.
But even if the two unite, the party needs thorough re-vamping by bringing in fresh faces into its ranks by adopting pragmatic policy and programmes. Likewise, the CPN-UML also needs re-structuring at all levels. It cannot afford to stay under the effete leadership that has made a muddle of the entire public affairs. The party has earned considerable odium from the thinking section of the nation owing to its opaque policy in recent years. Its leadership has to take a transparent view of politics in order to make the party an effective political force. NC, NC-D and CPN-UML have to proceed towards their goal after undergoing the processes of soul-searching and make themselves the solid factors thereby helping the parliamentary system. They should also cooperate with smaller Left parties while keeping in total abeyance phoney parties like the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, which is controlled by some people with their own vested interests, and also other spurious organisations sponsored by coteries of reactionaries and anti-democratic elements, who call themselves â€˜Rastrabadisâ€™ and make similar other high-falutin claims for themselves in their self-seeking bid to fish in the troubled water of the nationâ€™s political life.