The hard-line Baidya faction in the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is hell-bent on one thing: removal of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and his government. To achieve that goal the Baidya faction leaders have reached out for an unlikely alliance— with NC and the UML. The Baidya faction’s desperation is understandable, but what is untenable is the temptation of some in the UML and NC to join hands with Baidya and dislodge this government. The establishment faction of the Maoist party led by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Prime Minister Bhattarai is, and should be seen by the NC and UML as, a natural ally in the sense that both of them are in favor of concluding the peace process and promulgating the constitution. The differences among the NC, UML and the Maoist establishment faction are about the contents of the constitution, not about whether to promulgate a constitution at all, which is where they differ with Baidya.
The real intent behind the Baidya faction’s current belligerence against Dahal and Bhattarai is still not clear. Agreed that there are some revolutionary romantics, hardcore radicals if you like, in the Baidya faction, who want to split the party and wage their own revolution for a proletarian utopia. But it would be wrong to see Baidya’s band as a monolithic unit. Look at the latest incident that triggered the current round of crisis in the Maoist party. It all started after Prime Minister Bhattarai turned down Baidya’s demand to appoint Dev Gurung as finance minister and C P Gajurel as foreign minister.
Instead, Bhattarai appointed Barsa Man Pun and Narayan Kaji Shrestha as finance and foreign ministers respectively, as recommended by Dahal. So it’s possible the Baidya faction is desperate for an opportunity to force Bhattarai and Dahal into a compromise with him. A no-trust motion, if co-sponsored by NC and UML, would provide such an opportunity and help the Maoist leaders patch up. In the end, NC and the UML will be the real losers, which is why a no-trust motion is a wrong tactical move for them.
And there is something more important than the narrow interests of parties and petty inter- and intra-party games: the constitution. We are already entering a crunch time for promulgation of the new constitution and any misstep from here on could lead to derailment. A no-trust motion at this stage—when there are just 28 days for constitution promulgation and the parties are yet to agree on major contentious issues — will be an unwelcome distraction and can potentially spell political disaster. Should that happen, the NC and UML will be blamed for this eleventh-hour debacle. We, therefore, urge NC and UML leaders who see a no-trust move as a viable option, to abandon their reckless path and focus on constitution writing. We agree that power-sharing is a key issue in the upcoming political settlement but that’s something to be settled through dialogue and negotiation