Kathmandu: In a new twist, the CPN (Maoist Centre), which is led by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, has said that it can change the name of the party and remove the Maoist tag. At present, the party’s official name is CPN (Maoist Centre) and if the other communist parties and forces are ready to come together, it would be ready to drop the tag, Maoist Centre, according to a party decision that has been circulated to various party committees.
In the context of the ongoing dialogue and discussions for unification among the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) and other leftist forces, the party will make a decision on removing the tag ‘Maoist Centre’ at its next general convention, according to a circular issued to the lower level of the party committees.
As per the decision of the recently concluded central committee, the circular was issued to the lower committees for discussion. The party held the central committee meeting in the first week of August in Kathmandu.
The Maoist Centre plans to convene its general convention in November-December but hasn’t fixed the dates yet. The circular is signed by the party chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal and the party’s general secretary, Dev Gurung.
At a time when the CPN (Maoist Centre) is leading the Socialist Front, this new decision is seen as a move to accommodate other forces in the front.
On June 19, the CPN (Maoist Centre), the Janata Samajbadi Party, the CPN (Unified Socialist) and the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal had come together to form the Socialist Front.
Before the front’s formation, the Janata Samajbadi Party, led by Upendra Yadav, and the Socialist Party of Nepal, whose chairman is former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, had objected to the Maoist tag and urged Prachanda to remove it, which, they said, would pave the way for unification with like-minded parties. Only four parties came together and announced the front while Bhattarai was excluded.
“We have a history of changing the party’s name, but we have never changed the main one: Nepal Communist Party,” said Gurung, the general secretary. “Otherwise, other addendums to our name have been changing with time… Initially, from the Fourth General Convention led by Nirmal Lama, we kept changing the party’s tag as Masal, Ekata Kendra, Unified Maoist (Ekikrit Maobadi) and now it is Maoist Centre.”
Gurung is unsure whether unity among the communist parties will proceed with CPN-UML, the country’s largest communist party, on board. “We keep talking,” said Gurung. “It is undecided who will come on board and who will not.” According to Gurung, they are flexible in terms of shifts in ideology.
There hasn’t always been harmony among Nepal’s communist parties. The CPN-UML and Maoist Center’s May 2018 merger, which created the Nepal Communist Party (NCP), was short-lived. The union was declared invalid by the Supreme Court.
In March 2021, the court issued a ruling declaring the NCP’s founding to be invalid. The court’s decision brought the CPN-UML and the Maoist Centre back to life.
Observers on the left have stated that it does not matter if the Maoists take off their tag. Leftist socio-economist Hari Roka stated, “Changing the Maoist tag does not make any difference as the Maoists have long abandoned their ideology and programmes.” “Whether or not the UML rejects Marxist and Leninist ideology is also irrelevant.”
“These days, the Maoists have no ideology, programmes, or perspectives about their country and society,” Roka continued. In Nepal, every party appears the same. Ideologies and values have vanished from Nepali politics and society.
Releasing the Maoist label, according to some Maoist officials, will foster harmony among communist forces. A member of the Maoist Center’s central committee, Yubraj Chaulagain, stated, “Our decision to drop the Maoist tag will send a positive message to the parties that want to unite with us.” “Unity with parties already under the Socialist Front’s umbrella would be our first priority.”
However, there isn’t a quick plan to unify with UML. “In 2018, we dissolved the Maoist Centre label and they dissolved the Marxist and Leninist label when our party united with UML. However, we were unable to maintain the party merger. Other factors, not the names, were the cause of the separation. Cholagain