No headway in UML-Maoist merger; Oli, Dahal fail to meet

KATHMANDU (The Kathmandu Post/ANN)- As an alternative, some Maoist Centre leaders said, the two parties could form a separate joint mechanism for unification with both the parties remaining intact.

With the CPN-UML chairman’s reluctance to give full-fledged leadership of the unified party to CPN (Maoist Centre) Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal, leaders say the two parties may go for a joint leadership.

As an alternative, some Maoist Centre leaders said, the two parties could form a separate joint mechanism for unification with both the parties remaining intact.

UML leaders close to Chairman KP Sharma Oli maintain that only the “joint leadership” could lead the two parties towards unification in the transitional phase while Maoist Centre leaders have argued that they must get full-fledged leadership of the unified party if the UML claims the PM’s post.

UML leaders say that only a joint leadership could fulfil the aspirations of the cadres of both the parties and address their sensitivities.

“During the transitional phase of party unification, a joint leadership of the two top leaders will lead the party to a national convention,” said Shanker Pokhrel, a UML Standing Committee member close to Chairman Oli.

The joint leadership modelled on the existing party unity coordination committee, in which both the leaders have been accorded equal status, has been the bottom-line of the UML.

Dahal has failed to win confidence of UML leaders, a reason why they are not ready to accept him as the chairman even for the transitional period. UML leaders are also suspicious of Dahal’s leadership traits as he has been the Maoist party’s executive head for around three decades.

If the two leaders fail to finalise the power-sharing deal, the two parties could form a joint mechanism for unification led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal with both the parties remaining intact. The mechanism would deal with the unification process and other joint decisions of the alliance whenever necessary.

“Since the UML is opposed to entrusting Dahal with leadership of the unified party, forming a joint mechanism led by him could be a viable alternative,” said Maoist Centre leader Mani Thapa.

Another option floated by other UML leaders including Madhav Kumar Nepal, Jhala Nath Khanal and Bamdev Gautam is collective leadership which the two leaders might not accept.

Maoist chief Dahal has claimed that there was no confusion over sharing top executive posts—the party chair and the prime ministership—between the two leaders. Leaders claimed that Dahal had hinted at both Oli and himself having equal status in the new party.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the two leaders has been further delayed after Dahal could not return to Kathmandu from Bharatpur as flights were cancelled due to bad weather.

The left alliance has garnered an almost two-thirds majority in the latest polls on the promise of merger for political stability and prosperity in the country but the unification coordination committee has failed to meet. The two leaders would agree on a draft of agreements before Chairman Oli leaves for Bangkok, Thailand, for follow-up treatment, said UML secretary Pradeep Gyawali.

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  • No headway in UML-Maoist merger; Oli, Dahal fail to meet

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