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Long road ahead for BRB

Long road ahead for BRB

 Former Prime Minister and Coordinator of Naya Shakti Nepal Baburam Bhattarai was recently canvassing the country’s length and breadth. What he saw and heard during this extended tour must have depressed him. Basically, he espied no prospect of a revival of his beleaguered party, which has just a single seat in the federal lower house. Many see Bhattarai as an opportunist who waged a bloody insurgency that took the lives of around 17,000 Nepalis. But as soon as it served his purpose, he ditched the ideology. Others think of him as cold and calculated, and someone missing the common touch.


In the former Maoist party, Bhattarai’s reputation was as an intellectual capable of coming up with the best of ideas and yet someone incapable of building an organization. His tendency to project an intellectual air does not sit well with common folks; many like his ideas but they struggle to trust him. This sad realization must have hit home on his recent cross-country trek. Hence his decision to merge his party with the Upen­dra Yadav-led Federal Socialist Forum Nepal.


Bhattarai realizes Yadav is the front and center of the new party and he will be playing second fiddle. The new socialist outfit, by fusing the energies of eth­nic hill leaders and identity-conscious Madhesi ones, hopes to start a new trend in Madhes-Pahad unity. A wonderful idea, but also an unrealistic one. Big parties like the (former) CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress have always had strong organizations in both Pahad and Madhes. If these forces could not unite the coun­try, there is little hope that the new socialist party with some extremely polarizing politicians in its ranks will fare any better. But Yadav has nothing to lose.


He already has a rock-solid base in Madhes; the new party’s ability to make inroads into the hills would be a bonus. In contrast, Naya Shakti’s hold on both Madhes and Pahad is tenuous. It was a spent force. Bhattarai has never been short of ambition and yet he finds him­self in a political wilderness. The new socialist outfit is an unlikely vehicle with which to revive his political career. In a sign of things to come, his erstwhile Naya Shakti colleagues are furious at the new merger that happened without their knowledge, and one which has made them ‘junior members’ in the new party. The road ahead is long and arduous for BRB.