Dahal faction calls plenum, Baidya national gathering, Split in Maoist party imminent

KATHMANDU, Jun 2: The rift in the Maoist party has reached its climax with the establishment and rebel factions of the party calling a plenum and a national gathering respectively.

While the party establishment led by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Friday called the plenum for June 29 to discuss future tactical line, the rebel faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya has announced a national gathering of its supporters for June 15. Both the events will be held in Kathmandu.

It is a common practice among communist parties to call a plenum or a national gathering at critical junctures to decide the party´s policy.

Party leaders said the possibility of the party remaining united is slim, particularly following the announcements by the two factions. Dahal also voiced the same concern during the central committee meeting of his faction on Friday, leaders said.

“We called the gathering because of the problems in the party. We are in the process of forming a new communist party,” said Baidya at a press conference on Friday. He, however, said that the name of the new party, among other issues, would be settled at the national gathering. Baidya said his faction took the move as the party´s establishment faction has adopted “rightists´ liquidation policy” and the policy of “capitulation”.

Meanwhile, Dahal told CC members close to his faction that the possibility of the party remaining intact was slim. “We [Dahal, party Vice-chairmen duo Baburam Bhattarai and Narayankaji Shrestha] are trying to keep the party intact. We will try until the eleventh hour to maintain unity. But the possibility of the party remaining intact is slim,” Prakash Pokharel, a CC member close to Dahal faction, quoted Dahal as saying at the meeting.

Dahal further told the central committee meeting that he was ready to step down from the party leadership if such a move saves the party unity. But the Baidya faction refused to accept Dahal´s offer.

“I am voluntarily ready to quit my post and to be either the party´s advisor or CC member if that is the bottom line [of the Baidya faction]. But Kiran ji [Baidya] told me that he would discuss my proposal with his supporters, “CC member Krishna Bhujel quoted Dahal as saying at the meeting.

Baidya, however, said he did not believe Dahal´s proposal.

“The party chairman [Dahal] said that he is ready to correct all mistakes. I know him very well. He always makes promises and never fulfills them,” Baidya said, adding, “I told him that he cannot be believed unless he translated the commitments into deeds,” said Baidya.

Meanwhile, the central committee meeting of the Dahal faction Friday decided to form a joint front of forces advocating identity-based federalism. The Baidya faction has already formed such a front under the leadership of part secretary CP Gajurel. In addition, the meeting also announced a month-long program and decided to hold mass rally on June 15 in all the district headquarters.

Roundtable and national govt to finalize constitution

Meanwhile, Baidya faction has proposed to form an all-party government and hold a roundtable meeting to complete the unfinished works of constitution drafting, concluding that the new election would not be possible.

“The all-party roundtable assembly is the only way to address the concerns expressed during the people´s war and the Madhes movement and fulfill the aspirations of the suppressed regions and communities,” said Baidya by KIRAN PUN from republica

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