Almost three years after the vertical split, two major Maoist parties—UCPN (Maoist) and CPN-Maoist- are making attempts to again coalesce with each other.
They both are accentuating on merger claiming it is necessary for the entire Maoist movement in Nepal.
The two parties have even formed a joint dialogue committee for possible unification which is represented by their topmost leaders.
Chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal, senior leader Baburam Bhattarai, vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha and General Secretary Krishna Bahadur Mahara represent the UCPN (Maoist) in the committee. Similarly, it constitutes Chairman Mohan Vaidya, vice-chairman C.P Gajurel, general secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa and Secretary Dev Gurung on behalf of the CPN-Maoist.
Both the parties have indeed suffered heavily because of their splitting.
The organisation structure of the UCPN (Maoist) saw a debilitating depletion after the faction led by Mohan Vaidhya walked away from the party.
This was one of the prime causes behind the humiliation defeat of the party in the second CA polls.
The CPN-Maoist headed by Vaidya also gained virtually nothing after its split from the mother party. Rather its political strategies like belligerent boycotting of the elections only isolated it from the common people.
The already beleaguered party faced further setbacks with Netra Bikram Chand and his supporters abandoning the party in November 2014 to form a new Maoist outfit.
The inability of the CPN-Maoist to justify its political relevance led to its split.
Interestingly enough, the second rung leaders of all the three Maoist parties are proposing for forming a single party through unification.
Janardan Shrama and Nanda Kishore Pun from the UCPN (Maoist), CPN-Maoist’s Hit Man Shakya and Dharmendra Bastola from the Chand-led party have forwarded such proposition saying it is also the wish of their senior leaders.
So, what exactly is the other prime reason that has triggered such unification mania amongst the Maoist forces?
It is the fear of the leaders of these parties that they might be prosecuted for the heinous crimes committed during the decade-long armed conflict.
They were all under the umbrella of the single party when it launched an insurgency against the state and grossly violated the human rights during the course of the war.
In fact, the UCPN (Maoist) and CPN-UML a few days back also came together to openly denounce the verdict issued by the Supreme Court (SC) last month.
The verdict prohibits the transitional justice bodies-the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission on Enforced Disappearances (CED)—from taking up conflict-era cases already being handled by regular courts.
Similarly, it also makes it impossible for the two commissions to grant amnesty to rights violators without victims’ consent.
The very move of the apex court has given a chilling rude shock to the Maoist leaders.
It runs counter to the motive of the Maoist leaders to exempt themselves from the charges of gross human rights violations. They also suspect that the court verdict has emboldened those elements looking to send them to the International Criminal Court located in The Hague for legal trial.
If they remain divided and weak, there will be more possibility of them facing harsh prosecution for extra-judicial killing and other grave war-era crimes.
As such, it not surprising to see them making unification attempts to shield themselves from possible prosecution.
On the other hand, grass-root level cadres of the Maoist parties are also pushing for unification to cope with the dominating presence of the Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) in the political arena.
Despite all this, it won’t be a cakewalk for these parties to merge together.
The sharp difference in their political lines can obstruct the proposed unification process.
While the UCPN (Maoist) seeks to use the CA for institutionalizing the agenda of the “people’s war”, other two parties led by Vaidhya and Chanda strictly loathe at the very idea.