Milan Timilsina in Ujyaaloonline.com, 13 March
KP Oli rose to prominence with the Jhapa movement. Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) gained political clout with the Maoist war. Ram Bahadur Thapa (Badal) and Netra Bikram Chand (Biplav) at one point were the drivers of the Maoist movement under Prachanda’s leadership.
In short, all our leaders in power today have violent political pasts. They became rulers by taking up arms — Biplav is just following the footsteps of his comrades.
In his heyday, Prachanda had used the same tactics as Biplav today. But he eventually realised that war was a dead-end, and he could attain his political objectives through peaceful means. After the ceasefire, he championed the peace process and won the 2008 Constituent Assembly election with a landslide. The ballot won over the bullet. It was proof that non-violent struggle is more effective.
After the electoral alliance in 2017 and party unity, Oli, Prachanda and Badal are now part of the ruling Nepal Communist Party with a two-thirds majority in Parliament. Baburam Bhattarai and Mohan Baidya (Kiran) broke away from the Maoist party earlier, but are following peaceful politics their own way.
Biplav, however, is taking the country back to armed struggle, reminding Nepalis of a bloody war many had forgotten. Bombs are going off again because Biplav now wants the same power and the privileges as his comrades, and is using the same methods they employed.
He has ignored the government’s frequent calls for dialogue, and the ruling party on Tuesday banned its violent activities. But it is unclear what kind of activities and under which law they are going to be prosecuted. It was this ambiguity that prevented the police from taking action against Biplav’s cadre. The ruling party is acting like an older brother miffed at the younger sibling for disobeying him.
The former comrades are trying to outsmart each other, and the conflict is particularly worrying as the people and the country await the promised stability and prosperity delayed by the ruinous 10-year-long war and equally long peace process.
As former aides, Prachanda and Badal should have a good knowledge regarding the strength of the faction and how to treat them. Oli himself should have an idea or two to bring the opposing communist party to mainstream politics. If they can convince CK Raut to give up Madhes separatism they sure can change an insider who shares their ideology. It is vital they bring Biplav in before the situation gets out of hand.
For his part, Biplav needs to give up violence. It does not work. No one has stopped them from joining mainstream politics.