This is the new UML, endless complaints like yesterday shall not be accepted: Pradeep Gyawali
KATHMANDU: The decision taken by the special meeting of the CPN-UML has shocked not only the party but the entire country. KP Oli and Madhav Nepal faction, which had split once on 22nd December, is about to split for the second time? These types of questions are being raised currently.
In this regard, a detailed conversation of Nepal Press with CPN-UML Spokesperson Pradeep Gyawali is presented in Nepal Talk:
By holding a special meeting, there have been some changes in the party. What is the message?
First, this meeting is aimed at making them (Madhav Nepal faction) respectful to return and become active. There were some issues that required institutional decision making. They have not called on us to return to the leadership, we have also heard expressions on how to go to the meeting. That is why the meeting has cordially called on them to return to the party and remain active.
It has been said that the spirit of self-reflection, the inner resolve to correct the mistakes of the past, the country and the people should be at the center and the party should take the oath of office and move forward with what we had promised. Although some were hesitant about this formal call, they have all been removed.
Second, in the meantime, some comrades with Maoist backgrounds stood firmly in favour of the leadership. They had a lot of risks, but ignoring all those risks, they stood for the right idea, the right leadership and the right direction. They should have been given honorable responsibilities in the Central Committee. In the former UML, they were not in the Central Committee. It would be appropriate to go to the full meeting by doing those things.
And third, some of the provisions passed by the Ninth General Convention of the UML are not conducive to the current context. For example, the constitution of our country and the constitution of our party also say that the general convention will be held in five years. Now that time has passed. We also set the age limit with a sense of leadership transfer and transformation. If that is to be maintained now, some leaders and comrades will have to be irresponsible right now. It was necessary to remove those things as well. The meeting is for internal work that should not be done. Many decisions will be taken after a detailed and full meeting on 20th March.\
What about last Friday’s meeting?
This is a special meeting. We had a meeting on the morning of 17th May 2018 to approve the unification. About 33/34 months have passed since then.
Was Madhav Nepal not invited to this special meeting?
Some were informed, they also came. Some may not have been informed in detail. This is basically a meeting for the purpose of doing homework.
In the meantime, the party broke. Madhav Nepal became the Chairman of one faction. Is this a meeting to invite them over to KP Oli’s side?
That is one of the reasons. But, that is not the main reason. After all, as long as we are not in the same place, we are moving forward from two sides. In such a situation, the meetings of their stream continue. They are also staying at Aryal Hotel. He was in Paris Danda till day before yesterday. So this is normal.
In today’s meeting, is it that it has been decided not to have any Office Bearers other than the Chairperson and General Secretary?
No, no. There is no provision in the constitution of our party to form a general convention organizing committee. The Central Committee organizes it. However, sometimes a situation may arise where a convention organizing committee has to be formed. If that happened then the office bearers would not be there. That means the organizing committee. To this day, all our officials are the same.
The Madhav Nepal faction said they will hold a final standing committee meeting in Parisdanda and return to the CPN (UML) and fight there against the Oli trend, and only today will Prachanda (Madhav Nepal faction) capture the UML. If not they say they will fight and come. And what happens when today’s meeting in Baluwatar without them understands that the UML will no longer be united?
Although the court’s decision has revived the former CPN-UML, it is not the UML until the morning of16th May 2020. This is the UML of March 2020, where there are friends of the former Maoist faction and also friends who came after the armed struggle yesterday. And, there are other friends from different backgrounds.
It is a unified party in itself. We did a practice of unity. Honestly, we took the initiative. We made the UML with so much struggle that it was like a culture in itself, a cultural movement, a banner in itself. Even with some of its features aside, we had united the party with a holy intention. However, for some, the unification of the party became like a ladder for the purpose of capturing or destroying the highly organized and greedy organization formed by the then UML. As a result, Unity was not there. Sooner or later, there will be an accident. The Supreme Court has given a kind of exit. There is a situation where one decision has been taken in one place. Therefore, while the CPN (UML) is saying, don’t call it the UML of May 15. Today’s UML is UML where leaders like Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi from the other side of the overall movement are here.. This is the new UML.
As far as Prachanda is concerned, I do not want to respond on the basis of what has been heard. I just want to make it clear that we should forget what happened in the meantime because our focus is on the future. The past is nowhere to be found. One situation led to polarization. Friends spoke in their own ways. What did they speak or say? They will understand if they introspect themselves in the mirror about their own expressions.
We have no regrets about the intervening period. However, one thing is clear – the period after 7th March 2021 is a ‘cut off ted’. Within this party, issues like yesterday’s endless grumbling of leadership, endless frustration, never-ending fight for the chair, will be no more.
We want to take the movement forward as a movement. Therefore, I think that all the comrades contribute to this. Even after a heavy downpour, it is still raining. I consider the present expression to be like a drop of water after the same water has passed away.
As far as Prachanda is concerned, I don’t want to take his statement too seriously. Because he himself has somehow lost everything. He thinks that playing, breaking, spoiling or dividing in instability is his own specialty.
Everyone is evaluating where he is today, considering his instability as miracle-like creativity. Now, I want Comrade Madhav to refute those expressions made by him. Such things do not make it easy to move forward in the coming days.
You also have to give ‘space’ to refute. On the one hand, they were hesitant to meet KP Oli again. Where do they get that ‘space’ when making a decision today?
If there is any doubt, then we have to do the most. He stayed till 7th March. Meetings were held in Khumaltar several times a day. I don’t want to go there.
Then there is your party. Is the leader of his party. He is not a leader made by any comment. This is what happened to comrade KP Oli by making a phone call. The court brought us together. Now let’s forget all the bitterness . He could have said tell me, how can we move forward now? ‘
He probably was not without a phone number or it was not the case where address was unknown. Again, sometimes in the name of the Central Committee, sometimes in the name of the Standing Committee…… I don’t want to comment further as I haven’t heard. How can it be healthier if he comes the way he came in and says we will struggle and Prachanda is going to capture them?
Therefore, I want to forget things before coming to the meeting. Our focus is on the future of the movement. The movement has only reached its leaders. He has reached the highest body of the state not once, but many times. You have received a status.
So the concern now is for future generations. And we will focus on the future of our country, our people, rather than the future generation. These are nothing to keep in mind. If we had put it in the centre yesterday, the problem would not have arisen. At the centre was placed issues like self, own group, own family. These are the things that spoil things.
Therefore, the Prime Minister, with a very wide chest, is eager to forget everything of yesterday and move forward in a new way. But, I repeat again – things before 7th March can be considered normal. However, the party can no longer be a hotbed of endless strife. We cannot spend our precious time on such things. We will fight in as many general conventions as we have to fight. However, 259 days in a more chaotic situation than the General Convention can’t be kept.
You said you are free from endless strife. However, this decision divided the Madhav Nepal faction for the second time. Doesn’t this decision of yours lead them to the level of division?
I don’t know how you are talking like this. In the meantime, there have been attempts at partition. At the height of the current conflict, Prime Minister KP Oli’s departure or displacement was on the agenda. But, its depth was much farther and deeper than that. Because, in national politics, KP Oli represents a particular stream and a particular ideology. Let’s take a look at the events of the five / seven years he led – KP Oli emerged as a nationalist and a representative of that ideology, standing on the foundation of universal equality, without compromising on his national interest, talking face to face and taking any risk.
There were also frightening attempts to push the country towards ethnic conflict, religious destruction and regional conflict in the name of identity politics. He represented a section of the nation by standing firm against it. He represented the idea of unity. He has always stood against violence to bring national politics to a peaceful stream. The dreams of the development and prosperity of the country were faint. The belief that this country would stand on its own two feet was a shaky one. He also led that confidence-building stream.
After the constitution came, many things were resolved. Those who were in the process of drafting the constitution and those who boycotted it later joined the election process. However, two trends remained. One is the tendency to divide, the other is the tendency to violence. In a span of two years, he brought CK Raut to the peaceful mainstream in February 2019 and the CPN led by Biplav in March 2021. In a way, he has made the country conflict-free. There are still problems in the country. There are contradictions. However, all of them are now within the ambit of the constitution. They are all within the realm of peace.
Therefore, the question was not just about displacing KP Oli. It was an attempt to reverse this trend, idea and direction he led. We need to understand this mystery.
What do you think, will they tolerate the current decisions silently? They are talking about forming a parallel committee and revolting. What if CPN conflict enters UML?
I don’t know why you are so sceptical. You may have said that by looking at some things in the past. But, I don’t think so. Let me tell you one thing here, what is the situation with KP Oli, the party was united with the feeling of connecting the two streams that came from yesterday’s movement within the party. It was natural for him not to have numerical compatibility in that.
We moved forward from such an awkward situation. Today the situation has changed. If you look at the period of 15 days, even the friends who were happy when the House of Representatives was reconstituted and held two sittings are now beginning to feel that the country is in a dilemma. Because of that, no one can imagine weakening the CPN-UML and weakening the movement. They have the freedom to choose the path, but I believe that the leaders who have made significant contributions to the formation of the CPN-UML, even if the situation reaches its extreme due to one person, I think they will forget it and lay the foundation for unity. They come for unity. The discussions that are going on outside are not true.
Yesterday, Madhav-Prachanda and others used the weapon of the majority against KP Oli. Isn’t KP Oli using the same majority weapon against the Madhav group today?
Nothing like that has ever happened. First, there had to be an institutional call somewhere. Second, we could not keep friends of different streams in the middle without giving them any responsibility. Whatever the rest of the decisions are, we make them in their presence. Discussions take place but we move forward with the consultation of everyone.
There is no need to discuss issues like slapping, showing, or taking revenge. Why do we think and discuss such issues? I repeat again – our concern is with the country.
We aim to establish the country as a developing nation by 2026, to meet all the goals of sustainable development by 2030, and to upgrade to a middle-income country. We have just started discussions with India on getting our lost land back.
Let us not deprive a child of going to school, let not a single woman die in childbirth, let no mother die in old age without medicine. Our focus is on ensuring that not a single youth is left unemployed.
Railways, construction of express highways, clean drinking water etc. are some of the issues that should not become our dream.
The Election Commission still gave time to reconcile. The Supreme Court has given the CPN to Rishi Kattel. Is the chapter of unity closed now?
What we discussed today is that we are ready to discuss all aspects openly. We are ready to discuss with all of us for building a unified communist movement. But what the last 15 days have shown is that there is no practical possibility of unity between the CPN-UML and the CPN-Maoist. We have said this clearly, but that does not mean that we are not trying. The ideological-political foundation and structural basis of the party on which we united yesterday and the method of the two-president system were weakened. Due to this we could not reach the destination. We now move forward with unity efforts in a thoughtful and mature manner. To say that the attempt failed in 15 days this time means that unity is impossible.
UML does not have a majority. The Maoist Centre is leading the way in forming another government. The two-sided talk of the leaders of the Oli faction and Prachanda faction now raises the question of the stability of the government, doesn’t it?
We have repeatedly called them after the court decision. Let’s forget the bittersweet things of the past and move forward unitedly. It may be difficult for us to say in public, but we should not be psychopathic.
There were some derogatory words. However, these issues have now become history. Our focus is on the present and the future. This cannot be repeated. Now it is time to move forward unitedly by accepting the leadership of KP Oli. Isn’t this established by truth, facts and events?
If today’s decisions were made by the Standing Committee and the Central Committee, another message might have been conveyed?
The point is, there is more to life than just making decisions. There would be no point in calling them when they came.
You have made it clear time and time again. Is the name CPN-UML the same now?
For now, the name remains the same. We will discuss many things when we go to the General Convention. But the name is very popular among the people. CPN-UML is not only a name but also a symbol of the sun and ideological people’s leader Madan Bhandari. Multi-party democracy of the people has become popular as well as our strength. That’s why we don’t think much about names now.
For now, the name remains the same. We will discuss many things when we go to the General Convention. But the name is very popular among people. CPN-UML is not only a name but also a symbol of the sun and ideological people’s leader Madan Bhandari. The multi-party democracy of the people has become popular as well as our strength. That’s why we don’t think much about names now.
And is it people’s People’s multi-party democracy now?
Yes, That is what the Ninth General Convention raised. That is what guides us. We move forward by making it more relevant and refined over time. This will be our ideological guidance.
At the central committee meeting of the Madhav Nepal Faction held at Aryal Hotel, the KP Oli leadership had laid down some conditions including not accepting any of the structures formed after December 20. If they are not fulfilled, they will be in the mood to form a parallel committee. What happens if that practice happens?
These structures continue to function until further notice. We have a painful thing. While uniting the party, we had said that we could complete the task of party unification within three months.
What we did wrong was to dissolve all the committees except the central one saying that we would unify the party within three months. As a result, there was no full committee. In the meantime, our committees were formed in collaboration with the Maoist Centre. Some of the comrades went to the other side.
The committee below was vacant. Those committees have been formed to fill that vacancy. Discussions take place when we are all together. However, the chairpersons of the 29/30 district committees were friends of the former Maoist background. Now is it time to undo them?
Is there a new UML to be formed now?
Yes, a brand new UML is to be formed. Our focus will now be on the General Convention. Because, in the year 2071, we had a general convention. We have spent six and a half years without a general convention. If 33 months of integration is considered as zero time, then we have 14/15 months available.
The work of the General Convention should be completed within this time. The districts are even more chaotic. There is a party without a convention at the district level. Now our focus should be on renewing the membership and holding a convention soon. Old committees can be revived as needed. If, they are dynamic if they are active.
If the committees are qualified, they remain. If they are ineligible, they become new. When other friends come, we discuss this issue, the organization department works. Until then, it cannot be kept in a vacuum. Until then, this committee will remain active.
What if they go into parallel practice?
This is not possible. To do so is to damage the movement. I don’t think they walk the same path after being hit so hard.
If you do that, action will be taken, won’t it?
I don’t think it will happen. So we don’t have to talk about what happened before that.
There is talk of adding 23 members from the Maoist centre, including members of the House of Representatives and members of the state assemblies. Legally, there is also the issue of their position. What happens now?
They have come to this movement by being mentally prepared and knowing how to take this kind of risk. I salute their courage. Every effort is made by the party to prevent them from getting into legal trouble. And even if there is some loss, it is compensated and the upper level is respected.
Now how does the CPN (UML) move forward under the leadership of KP Oli? Is a scandal like yesterday acceptable again?
That is not at all. The first thing we need to understand. Where the problem is happening today, I also find political and ideological confusion among some of my friends regarding the interrelationship between the party and the government. This is a communist government, but not a communist system. This is a constitutional system. It is a people’s multi-party competitive democratic system provided by the constitution.
Even if the government belongs to the Communist Party, the methods of running the government are specified in the constitution. It is not enough for the Prime Minister to follow the party’s instructions. We have to move forward on the basis of the constitution, prevailing laws and practices.
Some leaders and comrades did not understand this truth. They didn’t want to understand this.
Now, if the focus was on policy direction, the government would have been guided. However, ideological, political or other support is not feedback.
Is the UML moving forward from this situation now?
First of all, what I have to say is that both decisions of the court from 23rd February and 7th March are against us. In fact, the verdict of the 23rd has put a kind of break on our campaign to move forward and the verdict of the 23rd has put it on reverse gear, taking us back by three years.
There may be various discussions about this, but the characteristics of people’s multi-party democracy are supremacy of the constitution, rule of law, separation of powers and human rights issues. Thus, we will accept all decisions, whether they are favorable towards us or not.
Personally, I am not happy with the disintegration. However, the truth is that what is happening in the name of unification, the kind of squabbling in the ranks of the former UML, which received 3.2 million votes, was a suffocating atmosphere, which has been revealed.
I am also looking at the sentiment of the people, but as a responsible activist, I am not happy with the disintegration.
Party unity was shattered, but we retrofitted it on 11th September. Until the morning of 20th December, we were running back and forth in Khumaltar and Baluwatar trying to support it. That was the situation.
This speaks of the public sentiment, pointing at a gap somewhere. As far as confusion is concerned, I don’t think there should be any of it now. An attempt failed. Our integration was a sincere effort. At least there was a sincere effort on the part of the CPN-UML.
We disregarded the numbers of 3.2 million and 1.3 million and united almost on average. That is how sincere the effort is. The Prime Minister said that he will resign after the General Convention and election. The Prime Minister had reached Khumaltar on 19th December to safeguard the unity.
The Prime Minister had reached Khumaltar on 19th December to safeguard the unity.
I don’t understand what Prachanda is trying to do or say right now.
This attempt at integrity failed, but the ranks of the former UML can be satisfied because the most important comrades who came from the edge of the Maoist armed struggle yesterday are now on the side of the CPN-UML.
Public opinion is basically intact. That has been revealed through our meetings from time to time. That is why I would say that a very big maze has been broken against the movement.
What will happen to the government now?
We are trying to give continuity to the government. We are talking to different parties. I think we are moving forward in a positive way, but our focus is more on the movement than on the government. In general, the mandate of 2074 does not seem to be able to run the country for a long time. Those things are also being revealed in the parliament. But we are trying to move the government forward by including all parties and creating an environment for elections by consensus of all.
If this parliament does not move forward properly, what can be the other solution? Some friends are not allowing us to grow.
The comrades who yesterday considered the dissolution of the House of Representatives as wrong and considered reinstatement as a panacea, have been and will continue to be shown by the past two weeks now that this is not so.
However, we respect the court’s decision. Our effort is to give stability to the House of Representatives within five years. But, whether the House of Representatives will last for five years or not, will it get the right way out or not? This is not certain.
Is the current government of the Left Alliance? Or of the JSP-Congress?
We are in discussion with all parties. The Prime Minister is going with an offer to the main opposition party, which won 23 seats by overthrowing the two-thirds government of his party. Now I don’t know how practical it would be in this sense to call this a leftist unity government. We are holding discussions with all the parties in the Parliament in the same manner. Let’s put the interest of the nation and the people at the center. This is a request for them.