After Mao, Marx and Lenin to get marching orders in Nepal

October 19th, 2008 - 4:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Oct 19 (IANS) After Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong, who inspired a 10-year ferocious guerrilla war in Nepal, it is now the turn of Communist icons Karl Marx and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin to get marching orders in the country that is trying to present a new face to the world.Close on the heels of the nation’s ruling Maoist party last week declaring that it was planning to drop Chairman Mao from the name of party, the second largest Communist party, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), is now considering axing the “tails” in the party name.

“We too are against keeping the tags in our party name,” UML chief Jhalanath Khanal announced at the party office in Kathmandu Saturday. “The final decision will be taken at the general convention of the party.”

The general convention of the UML, the second largest party in the coalition government headed by Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, will be held in Butwal town Feb 16-21.

If the meet endorses the proposal, the UML will bid farewell to Marx and Lenin and be re-christened the Communist Party of Nepal.

There are over a dozen Left parties in Nepal, with many of them sporting tags like the Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist Leninist, Communist Party of Nepal-United and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unity Centre Masal.

The first tag surfaced 23 years ago after a clutch of Left parties came together to form the Communist Party of Nepal-Marxist Leninist.

Now, with the Left forces mulling unification to form a unified communist party, an action that has the blessings of China’s ruling Communist Party, the distinguishing tags could start disappearing.

However, the UML would have to overcome a huge obstacle before it can drop its suffixes.

The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is also gearing to abandon its Mao tag after facing fear and doubts from the international community.

During their recent visits to the US, Prachanda and Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai had to field questions about whether their formerly guerrilla party had really laid down arms since the Maoist tag still conjures up images of revolt.

The Maoists will decide whether to keep Mao or drop him at their own national convention, which will take place in Kathmandu from Nov 10.

But the renaming race could freshly pit the UML against the Maoists instead of bringing them closer since both are eying the Communist Party of Nepal nomenclature.

The Maoists say they are entitled to the name since the April election showed they are the biggest and main Communist party, a claim that the UML, though trumped in the polls, is loath to concede.

The only way both could have the same name is if they merge. However, given the chronic infighting among the major parties, even when they are part of the same coalition, unification between the big two is a distant dream.

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