Prachanda proposes to drop ‘Maoist Centre’ from party name

Kathmandu, Mar 15 (PTI) Chief of Nepal’s CPN-Maoist Centre (MC) Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” has proposed to drop “Maoist Centre” from the party’s name to make it acceptable for communist forces in the country, who do not like Maoism, to join it, according to a media report on Monday.

CPN-MC member Shiv Kumar Mandal said that former prime minister Prachanda was always in favour of unity among all communist forces of the country and suggested that if dropping “Maoist Centre” from the party’s name could help unite these forces, then the party should be ready for that, The Himalayan Times reported.

The proposal to change the name of the party came as CPN-MC faces the heat to bolster the party after the Supreme Court recently nullified its merger with CPN-UML led by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, it said.

This has created a situation where Prime Minister Oli suddenly sees his position strengthened in the party, as he has a clear majority in the Central Committee and Parliamentary Party.

Other prominent leaders of the CPN-UML’s Nepal faction – Madhav Kumar Nepal and Jhalanath Khanal, who had joined hands with Prachanda in seeking Oli’s resignation as Prime Minister- find themselves in disadvantageous position, the report said.

The CPN (UML) and CPN (MC) merged in May 2018 to form a unified Nepal Communist Party following the victory of their alliance in the 2017 general elections.

The ruling NCP split over Oli’s move to dissolve the 275-member House of Representatives in December. In a landmark ruling, the apex court last month reinstated the lower house of Parliament.

Nepal’s Election Commission on Tuesday asked the CPN (UML) and the CPN (MC) to come up with a new name and election symbol of the party if they decide to merge their parties again after the Supreme Court quashed the 2018 unification of the two parties.

However, the political tussle between the two parties intensified after Prachanda on Sunday for the second time asked its ministers in Prime Minister Oli’s government to resign en masse for breaching party discipline, amid their reluctance to quit the Cabinet.

Mandal said there were many communist forces around the world who believed that the theory propounded by Marx and Lenin was the true theory of communism and “Maoist Centre” could be a distraction for many who wanted to unify their parties with his faction.

“Our party chair had developed ‘Prachandapath’ as Nepal’s own political theory, but when our party sealed a unity deal with the Narayan Kaji Shrestha-led communist outfit, Prachanda readily abandoned ‘Prachandapath’ as that was a condition set by Shrestha’s group,” Mandal was quoted as saying in the report.

Political analyst Uddhab Pyakurel said the CPN-MC that initially believed in Mao’s dictum that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” shed the idea when it signed the comprehensive peace accord in 2006 and started believing that “political power comes through the ballot”.

Pyakurel said that shedding the Maoist tag had become a compulsion for the CPN-MC as it had unified with the CPN-UML that had imbibed values of liberal democracy.

Prachanda had sided with the Nepal faction of the UML and unity between his party and the UML’s Nepal faction was still possible. It is because of this realisation that Prachanda wants to change his party’s name. The Nepal faction might not join the Prachanda-led party as long as it carries the Maoist tag, the report said, citing Pyakurel.

He said the alliance between Prachanda and other communist forces was possible any time before the next general election.

Meanwhile, the Nepal-Khanal faction of the CPN-UML on Monday issued a joint statement accusing Oli of trying to end the communist movement and splitting the UML.