On December 22 turned out to be a day of tragedy for the Nepali communist movement. The day saw the vertical split of Nepal Communist Party (NCP), sending a shock wave across its leaders, cadres and well-wishers. Created through the unification of two erstwhile parties - CPN-UML and CPN-Maoist Centre - two and a half years ago, the NCP emerged as the largest political force from the historic three-tier elections in 2017. The emergence of NCP and its huge electoral success marked the apogee of Nepal’s communist movement that started in the Nepali soil in 1949. The NCP suffered the split before it completed the unification process. It was set to hold a unity convention in April next year. But the intra-party bickering took a nasty turn, prompting Prime Minister and chairman KP Sharma Oli to dissolve the House of Representative (HoR) and seek a fresh electoral mandate.
The split will leave painful repercussions for the nation’s communist movement. The NCP has around 800,000 organised members. Many of them may not want to show allegiance to any factional groups. This risks turning them passive which can grind down the left influence at the grassroots in the long-run. The disappointed supporters will desert the party and stay out of the active politics forever. This trend was seen in the past when various communist parties underwent disintegrations without plausible reasons. Many dedicated foot soldiers grew disillusioned with the hypocrisy and ideological deviation of the leadership.
Unfortunately, the NCP leaders let a historic opportunity of nation-building slip through their fingers. This chance came to them after seven decades of the formation of the party that vowed to end all forms of exploitation, feudalism and foreign interferences. The new constitution promulgated in 2015 envisions building a socialist-oriented economy and inclusive social order. The people had mandated the NCP to execute that grand socialist project through the ballots at a time when the classical form of communism had lost much of its fire and lustre globally. The powerful communist dispensation was expected to put the nation on the firm path of stability and prosperity following the prolonged cycle of instability, decade-long armed conflict, devastating earthquake and ensuing blockade.
If the President ignores and does as per his/her wish against the recommendation of the Premier, this is against the provision of the Constitution of Nepal and there would be a large number of constitutional pundits blaming the ceremonial President for being proactive to defy the recommendation of the Prime Minister commanding the majority in the parliament. The then Maoist leaders and cadres, including the erstwhile PM Baburam Bhattarai who is criticising the President for not being proactive to refuse the recommendation of the Prime Minister, must not forget that they had severely reprehended the proactive role played by the then President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav to undermine the recommendation of the then Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda in appointing the new Chief of the Army Staff as unconstitutional.
The Prime Minister who enjoys apparent majority in the House, if wishes to seek for the fresh mandate of the people, there is no way anyone else can curb him/her from doing so. The Supreme Court’s verdict on recommendation of dissolution of the House by the then PM Girija Prasad Koirala is a precedent, too. Even if the constitution has been changed, the legal system and the Supreme Court have not changed!