Nearly two years after then CPN-UML and Maoist Center announced electoral alliance in October, 2017 and a year after the two parties formally merged into single political entity of Nepal Communist Party, which rules the country now, the unification process of the party’s lower committees has not yet completed. While chairmen of NCP—Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and Pushpa Kamal Dahal—have been reiterating that the pending works of unification at grassroots level will soon be accomplished, they have failed to conclude it. As a result, the NCP leaders, including its top brass, present themselves as rival factions within the party. At times, the leaders of erstwhile Maoist Center present themselves in stark contrast to leaders of erstwhile UML and vice-versa. This is manifested in public dissatisfactions by senior NCP leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and Chairman Dahal against working style of the government. Dahal and Oli in recent times seem to be working to narrow down the differences. They recently held a meeting with Nepal and leaders close to him to sort out outstanding issues but they have not been able to give the message that the NCP stands as a strong unified whole.
It is good that recently, NCP has expedited backdoor negotiations to resolve disputes so that they could merge lower committees of the party. This is something which needs to be sorted out because it has impeded larger unity process at the district level as top leaders continue to clash over naming chiefs of the party’s district chapters. Although the party’s central and provincial committees have been formed a section of disgruntled leaders led by Madhav Kumar Nepal have been opposing the move. They have accused the party leadership of forming those committees arbitrarily without respecting their calls to bring all on board. Dispute continues as leaders like Madhav Nepal and Bamdev Gautam have demanded that their nominees are also included as district chiefs. Hundreds of cadres at the grassroots are left without any responsibilities for over a year.
It bears reminding NCP brass that longer they take to complete the remaining tasks of unification, the more complicated the process will be. When they announced electoral alliance in October, 2017 they made a lot of promise on development, good governance and consolidating unity. Two years down the line not only the government has failed to address development and governance issues, it has also failed to consolidate the party organization. In this context, it would be wise for the party to reassert their unity through actions and be devoted to service delivery. At the same time, consolidation of unity must not be meant for misusing the resources at the grassroots level. It should be for the larger goal of addressing development needs, controlling corruption and making the government accountable to people. For this is the major need of the country today and NCP will be judged by the people based on their ability to deliver on these fronts. If NCP stands united for larger good of the country and people, it will help regain public trust on the party as well as the government.