Communists of Nepal have traditionally maintained close relations with Indian politicians, that often extended beyond the Left parties. From the time Pushpa Lal Shreshta and his comrades launched their political outfit in September 1949 in Calcutta, Nepalese communists have looked at Indian parties for inspiration. Some, like Manmohan Adhikari, Nepal’s first elected communist prime minister, was even arrested during the Quit India movement as a student in Varanasi.
However, when the two big communist parties of Nepal came together to merge into one political outfit last week, they certainly appear to be exemplars for the Indian Left, which continues to exist—and struggle—as several fractious communist organisations. But the merger decision also had enough for policy planners in South Block to mull over and assess its import.
On May 17, K.P. Sharma Oli’s Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) and Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) merged to become the Nepal Communist Party—giving it over 60 per cent of the 275 seats in the current lower house of the Nepalese parliament.
This came as part of the agreement the parties had struck during last year’s parliamentary polls. For Maoist leader Prachanda, this has serious implications. Though he is co-chairman of the NCP with Oli, he ended up getting lesser number of seats than the former CPN (UML) leader. Undoubtedly, he joined the alliance as a junior partner and is widely believed to have closed his options by agreeing to merge his outfit with that of Oli’s.
“This means Prachanda has decided to foreclose his future options,” says former Indian ambassador in Kathmandu, Ranjit Rae. By implication, this means the leader is no longer willing to...