UML’s Tradition of Dynastic Politics Must End

The Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) has long been criticized for perpetuating political dynasties, sidelining deserving and experienced leaders and cadres in favor of family members of late leaders. This trend has resurfaced with the party’s decision to field Suhang Nembang, son of the late Subas Chandra Nembang, in the upcoming by-election in Ilam-2.

This practice of promoting political heirs within families is not novel for the CPN-UML Bidya Bhandari’s ascension to political prominence following her late husband’s footsteps, Madan Bhandari, is a prime example. Similarly, Tirtha Gautam and Bidya Bhattarai, widows of late UML leaders, have also been ushered into political roles by the party, capitalizing on sympathy votes and familial connections.

The decision to field Suhang Nembang over long-serving party workers has left the Ilam District Committee disillusioned. Despite his youth, Suhang has been handpicked by the party to contest the by-polls, further cementing the perception of family succession within the CPN-UML.

While Bishnu Rijal, deputy chief of the UML’s publicity department, defends the decision by citing consultation with party leaders, it does little to address the underlying issue of favoring familial ties over meritocracy. While paying tribute to Nembang’s legacy is important, it should not come at the expense of overlooking other deserving candidates who have dedicated years to the party.

The discontent among UML cadres in Ilam-2 underscores the urgent need for the party to reassess its approach to leadership selection. The purpose of a political party should be to promote meritocracy and provide opportunities based on competence and dedication, rather than perpetuating dynastic politics.

While it’s commendable that the party has given opportunities to families of martyrs, this should not overshadow the need for broader reforms within the party’s leadership selection process. The CPN-UML must prioritize merit and experience over familial ties to ensure a fair and inclusive political landscape.

The perpetuation of political dynasties not only undermines the principles of democracy but also erodes trust in the political system. It is imperative that the CPN-UML takes heed of the growing discontent among its cadres and works towards fostering a more transparent and merit-based leadership selection process. Only then can the party truly uphold the values of democracy and serve the interests of the people it represents.


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