Political motive behind Maobadi Leader Dahal’s ‘disappearance’

ITAHARI: Though Unified CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Sunday tried to play down his 48-hour sudden ‘disappearance’, saying he was on a personal visit to the eastern region, local Maoist leaders here say the Maoist supremo had a motive behind visiting the region and that it ‘was very much political’.

Not only the journalists and security personnel but Maoist leaders also were in the dark about the Maoist chairman’s whereabouts for about 48 hours. However, on Sunday morning, Dahal appeared at Biratnagar airport only to rubbish speculations and claim that he was on a personal visit and that there was ‘no need to inform everyone about it’.

But according to a source, Dahal had arranged a ‘high level political meeting’ with some district in-charges of the party in the region, which he wanted to keep out of public eye.

According to the source, Dahal had been to Chulachuli-based PLA cantonment to hold discussion with commanders there. Dahal utilised most of his 48 hours in Jhapa and visited local leaders and cadres there, added the source.

He is also learnt to have held a secret meeting with Kochila State Committee secretary and district in-charges.

According to a leader of Maoist Kochila State Committee, party Chairman Dahal does not have relatives in the region. “It was a political trip,” said the leader seeking anonymity. “That he was on a personal visit is not true.”

Speculations were rife, and some even went on to guess that he had been to Siliguri in India. And recent row in the party over the decision to hand over keys of arms containers helped fan the speculations.

Dahal’s clandestine visit, however, was engineered by his close aide Haribol Gajurel, who had held ‘secret meetings’ with Maoist cadres of his faction in Sunsari, Morang and Jhapa earlier. But the issues that figured during Dahal’s meetings with local leaders are still unknown.

Those close to Maoist Vice-chairman Mohan Baidhya, who is against the party decision to hand over keys of arms containers, however, are not happy about Dahal and Gajurel’s hush-hush meetings and they too have now intensified gatherings, in which they are accusing Dahal of making ‘yet another mistake’.

Meanwhile, describing the decision to hand over keys as tantamount to surrender, Baidhya supporters have called a gathering in Dharan tomorrow.

According to the source, the meeting will be attended by Maoist Secretary CP Gajurel along with Hitman Shakya and Kochila State Committee Joint-Secretary Sabitri Kafle. The Baidhya faction also held meetings in Jhapa and Khorsane of Morang yesterday and in Panchthar today.

“We can’t keep quiet after Haribol Gajurel arranged a secret meeting with his supporters in the region,” said a district level leader in Sunsari. “We will also take our agendas among the party cadres.”

‘Nothing personal about it’

• That the Maoist chairman was on a personal visit is not true, claim local Maoists

• Visit engineered by his close aide Haribol Gajurel

• Had a ‘high level political meeting’ with district in-charges of the party in the region

• Held a secret meeting with Kochila State Committee secretary and district in-charges

• Dahal has no relatives in the region, claims a Maoist Kochila State Committee leader

SOMNATH BASTOLA  ITHARI  (H.T.)

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