The historic unification deal signed between CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Center) Monday evening has brought positive vibes at least on two fronts. First, it has made easier for the two parties to sort out issues to give full shape to the government. Maoist Center had been pushing for a package agreement as a condition to send ministers to be inducted in the K P Sharma Oli-led government. With the merger deal, we can hope cabinet will get full shape soon. Besides, the two parties have also agreed on the name of unified party—Communist Party of Nepal—and Marxist-Leninist ideology as its guiding principle. Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal have also agreed to lead the new party by turns until general convention. The unity looks real now. So far so good.
But they have not disclosed their understanding on leadership and party organization in the seven-point agreement. This could be the bone of contention given the huge number of aspirants for higher posts. There are issues to be settled between the two sides. For example, what will be the status of some of the prominent second rung leaders in UML and Maoist Center? The fact that this deal could be reached after the series of meetings held at various levels since October last year—when electoral alliance and eventual merger was announced—shows it might take time for them to settle the pending issues. As much as unity or more than that, what actually matters for the country and the people is whether the unified party will be able to deliver on promises of stability, economic development and prosperity. People will judge Oli and Dahal basically on this basis.
Oli and Dahal have both opportunities and challenges at the moment. The unified party will be at the helm of provincial governments in all provinces except for Province 2. Together they also command significant strength in the local governments. Thus executing development plans and projects won’t be difficult for them. Challenges lie in whether they will be able to deliver on campaign promises. The Left Alliance promises include raising per capita income to US$ 5000 to achieving double digit growth. If they fail to, or seen to fail to, achieve these goals, they will not only lose their support base but also credibility. They should not forget that promise for stability actually helped them win a majority seats in the central parliament and provinces. Monday’s deal came as a bit of surprise because there had been a lot of speculations and Maoist Center Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal himself had been talking about conspiracy to foil the unity. The deal came as a relief to those who wished for unity. But real surprise on development, good governance and stability is yet to come. The unity will be meaningful for the general public only when they will start to deliver. People are waiting for this to happen.