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Nothing’s changed for Biplob party

Nothing’s changed for Biplob party

Exactly a year ago, the Oli government outlawed the Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplob’-led Nepal Communist Party (NCP), in a move criticized in many quarters. Instead of talking to the renegade Maoist outfit and trying to usher it into mainstream politics, why was the government trying to suppress it with brute force? And why was Biplob’s party outlawed without a serious attempt at talks, at a time the outfit of CK Raut, another underground party, was being persuaded to shun its secessionist path?

The critics had a point. The price of trying to suppress the incipient Maoist rebellion in 1996 was high. In the end, a solution to the Maoist insurgency could be found only through talks. So perhaps Biplob could have been talked out of extremism too? Unlikely. The decade-long insurgency was possible in Nepal during a particular time. Things have since vastly changed, in and outside the country. Nor did Biplob, unlike CK Raut, appear willing to talk to the government team that had been formed specifically for the purpose. Instead, the outfit resorted to blatant acts of violence and killing of ordinary people. It was rightly banned.

On 11 March 2020, the first anniversary of the ban, the party detonated a bomb at the residence of ex-Minister for Communications Gokul Baskota, whom it blamed of robbing the country and of displaying fascist tendencies. Again, bombing public places is no way to make yourself heard. Since imposing the ban, around 1,500 leaders and cadres of the party have been arrested, and it’s on the verge of political irrelevance. Biplob is on the run, reportedly living somewhere along the Indo-Nepal border.

There can be no two ways about it: If the party is serious about finding a way out through talks, it should first abandon violence. Last year, asked by APEX what he was trying to achieve, Biplob had replied: “… we want an end to the way the crony capitalist class is impoverishing the people and bankrupting the country by capturing the economic, political and cultural arena and key sectors like education, health and real estate.” Apparently, he wants to achieve all this by ‘completing’ the ‘incomplete’ Maoist war that ‘turncoats’ like Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai abandoned halfway. The growing marginalization of his party is proof that time is not conducive for another war. It’s also a message that Nepalis have had enough of politics of violence.