KATHMANDU, April 23: The CPN-UML and the CPN (Maoist Center) will become one sooner or later, top leaders of the two parties said on Sunday.
Addressing party rank and file during a joint program organized to commemorate the birth anniversary of Lenin in the capital, leaders vowed to conclude the merger soon, resolving all the outstanding differences.
Despite signing a seven-point framework agreement for unity in February, the two parties appear nowhere close to striking a final deal due to bickering over power-sharing and rotation of premiership.
The leaders acknowledged the challenge but said that the unification has now become inevitable.
"The unification is inevitable whether we like it or not. There is no turning back now," said Oli, adding that a unified communist party was essential to achieve the dreams of peace, prosperity and economic development.
Addressing the program prior to Oli, Maoist Chair Dahal made a fresh assurance of the merger claiming that only some technical issues were causing the delay. He however refused to give a clear timeline for the unification of the two parties.
"We have not fixed any date for the merger as rumored. But I want to assure all present here that we will announce it on an appropriate day," said Dahal. He urged the supporters of both parties to return with the message of unification across the country.
Sunday's addresses, which come two months after the two sides struck a deal to form the Communist Party of Nepal, have been described as an effort to clear confusion regarding the merger.
Many had started doubting the merger after the two parties missed the deadline for unification. Last month, the two parties had announced to formally unite on Lenin's birth anniversary.
Despite a joint commitment from the cross-party leaders, sources said that there was still some uncertainty over the merger.
Briefing party leaders on the progress made in talks with Oli during an internal meeting on Tuesday, Dahal said that UML's rigid stance on terms and conditions of the merger was behind the current delay.
Maoist Center Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal said that the two parties are still struggling to break the ice on the issue of post-merger division of power. Leaders of the Maoist Center, who were earlier demanding 50 percent representation in the executive committees of the unified party, are now asking for a dignified representation. The party has also demanded credible assurance from Oli that the premiership will be rotated as per the gentlemen's understanding reached with Dahal before the formation of the electoral alliance between the two parties. Some Maoist leaders said that there are some differences over the mention of Maoism in the party statute and the election symbol of the unified party.
"UML leaders are yet to put forth clear views on the disputed issues," said Maoist leader Mani Thapa.