Nepal’s two largest communist parties were preparing to celebrate Russian revolutionary Vladimir Ilyich Lenin’s birthday on 22 April like never before in Kathmandu this year.
UML and Maoists wanted to announce the birth of their unified party by organising a symbolic ceremony for unification. But Maoist Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s insecurity about his own political future has made unification uncertain again.
Dahal says UML-Maoists will unite before mid May, but political analysts are skeptical. They say Dahal will not agree to unification unless he gets what he wants: UML Chair KP Oli’s promise to handover the PM’s chair and/or the unified party’s leadership.
Political analyst Puranjan Acharya says: “Dahal can sacrifice his political ideology but not his political future for this unification.”
In 2016, Oli had refused to hand over the PM’s chair to Dahal, prompting the Maoists to team up with the NC to topple the UML government. Dahal is afraid that Oli might betray him again, so he wants to lead the unified party.
This is why Dahal is pushing for half the seats in the unified party. He might even compromise on 40% seats, which will give him enough strength to checkmate Oli, if needed. However, in addition to 40%, Dahal also wants Oli’s promise to support him when the unified party’s first General Convention takes place.