CPN (Maoist Center), which has been taking initiatives for unification between various leftist forces, has written to the Baburam Bhattarai-led Nepal Samajwadi Party (NSP) for unification.
However, the letter signed by Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and General Secretary Dev Gurung has addressed the letter to Mahindra Raya Yadav, another NSP chairman, not to Bhattarai.
NSP has two chairmen. Bhattarai is the top-ranked chairman while Yadav ranks second. Yadav is also the minister for water supply and sanitation in the Pushpa Kamal Dahal government.
Bhattarai, who quit parliamentary politics leaving his constituency to Dahal, had long been calling for formation of a grand socialist front. But Bhattarai and his party were not included when Maoist Center, CPN (Unified Socialist), Janata Samajwadi Party (JSP) and the Netra Bikram Chand-led CPN formed the Socialist Front. Bitterness had developed between Dahal and Bhattarai after the Front was formed.
The effect of that bitterness was also seen in the letter sent by Maoist Center to NSP. Maoist Center General Secretary Gurung said that they wrote to Yadav for party unification as he has been holding discussions on the matter.
“There’s talk of party unification at present. They are both chairmen. As Yadavji has been holding discussions on party unification, the letter was sent to him,” Gurung told Setopati. “If necessary, another letter will be sent to Baburamji too.”
The letter addressed to Yadav states that discussions on party unification have been held in different stages, and that the party’s name will be changed through the upcoming general convention.
NSP leaders from the Bhattarai camp found out about the letter, dated September 16, through Yadav’s Facebook page.
The leaders said that the letter from Maoist Center had not arrived at their party’s central office.
The central committee meeting of Maoist Center held from August 1-6 in Kathmandu had formed a committee under Vice-chairman Krishna Bahadur Mahara to hold discussion for unification with other communist parties including former Maoists.
Mahara had been making efforts to bring Netra Bikram Chand into the party before that meeting but Dahal had instructed to keep unification on hold until the general convention deeming that some leaders in the party may be unhappy if Chand were inducted in the party and given responsibilities.
The party had earlier given up Maoist from the name when unifying with CPN-UML to form CPN in May 2018 but the Supreme Court (SC) invalidated the unification restoring the two parties to the state before unification.
CPN (Maoist Center) had tried to form socialist center by unifying with other communist parties before the last general election and had even held discussion for that with CPN (Unified Socialist) and JSP but to no avail. A few Maoist leaders had proposed changing the party’s name and election symbol at that time.
NSP Chairman Bhattarai had also put the condition of changing the party’s name for unification with Maoist Center.
The party has concluded that people associated the party with its violent past when it is named Maoist Center and decided to change the party’s name to give a message that the erstwhile rebels have changed now.