Party divided but to stay united: Dahal,Says Bhattarai will not step down

KATHMANDU: Chairman of the Unified CPN-Maoist Pushpa Kamal Dahal today said his party would carry forward two programmes simultaneously, without announcing formal split of the party, even though the party is virtually divided into two camps.

Talking to a select group of journalists today at his Lazimpat residence, Dahal said he did not want to run the risk of plunging the country into crisis by forcing Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to step down.

Dahal claimed that the latest Central Committee had not taken any decision to ask Bhattarai to step down, but instead had decided to form a national unity government, for which he has been making efforts.

“Other parties have been rigid on forming a unity government. They could have taken such a tough stance, maybe because they wanted to create rift in our party,” said Dahal, adding that the party would continue to hold discussions despite differences.

Justifying his idea of taking two programmes simultaneously, the Maoist chairman said, “It is not something that we are experimenting with for the first time. Even the communist party in then Soviet Union used to practice this formula. They (the Baidhya faction) want to split the party, but the party won’t. Both of us will carry forward our programmes separately.”

Dahal claimed that the Baidhya faction had been supporting those who were for sabotaging the peace and constitution-drafting process. “Fearing action of majority of CC members, they have announced not to attend the meeting, which is the only supreme body of the party where we discuss and find solutions to all the problems,” said Dahal.

The Maoist chairman also claimed that a respectful army integration process would begin in a couple of days and would be completed within a few weeks. “I am for concluding the peace process even by taking a chance because the country otherwise will plunge into crisis,” he said. “As soon as the peace process is concluded, the parties will feel the pressure to focus on drafting of the constitution.”

“Our party will not leave the agenda of federalism on the basis of identity and the party has not changed its earlier stance that the number of federal states should be 14. However, we can consider slight changes if parties agree on federalism on the basis of identity,” said Dahal. “If we give up the agenda of federalism on the basis of identity, the party will suffer. We are against referendum on federalism or a brief constitution. We don’t support the idea of a constitution without federalism as well.”TIKA R PRADHAN,THT

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