Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sustaining The Hope For Unity

Unity is back in season. As political exhortation, at least, it is.
Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal the other day urged all local adherents of the Great Helmsman to fulfil their “historical responsibility” to get back together in order to save nationalism.
What, you might ask, could have led the leader of an organization already called the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) to contemplate any further unity among the like-minded. The question is moot. Dahal’s principal audience, Mohan Baidya of the breakaway Maoist group, agreed with the basic concept of unity. But, Baidya added, there was more smoke than fire in the belly of Dahal. So he should stop “blabbering” before, one might add, adding some blubber to it all.
Not long after Baidya’s retort, Dahal slammed Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, another breakaway from the once-impressive community, for having betrayed the voters of his Gorkha constituency. How could someone who won a seat in the constituent assembly as a Maoist leave the party and – compounding the original sin – think about forming a new force, Dahal wondered. A little too late for that kind of thinking, one might have thought.
But unity is in fashion on the other end of the spectrum, too. The Koirala family must unite to save the Nepali Congress, according to a leading member of that fraternity, Shekhar. After the sudden demise of party president Sushil, the party had become “chaotic”, Shekhar affirmed. The members of the Koirala clan must rally around one member to save the party so that it could save the nation.
In fact, the three main claimants to the family mantle recently sat together to discuss issues confronting the party, Shekhar said, adding that they had decided to put up a common candidate for influential positions in the upcoming party convention. What nobility, indeed, in such trying times! The logical next question: What safeguards might they contemplate to ensure compliance with that undertaking? Or is it too early to be asking?
Prakash Chandra Lohani of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party seems to have been emboldened by his organization’s latest success in tiding over its perennial fractiousness. Lohani now believes unity is likely among his party, Dr. Bhattarai’s new force and Upendra Yadav’s Federal Socialist Party. After all, Lohani says, the threads of nationalism and democracy run through all three organizations. (C’mon, does he really think it’s that simple?)
As the senior ruling partner, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist is undergoing the bitterest factionalism. Still, unity gets lip service from all the major camps therein. In the given circumstances, that should count for more than it seems.
At the public level, it’s hard not to be cynical when the very leaders calling for unity continue to behave in the most divisive ways. The Great Earthquake could not bring us together. So it was unrealistic to expect the Indian ‘blockade’ to have done so. But, then, what else can we do but hope? Maybe that’s a thought we can try to unite behind.