KATHMANDU, JUN 02 –
The hard-line faction of the UCPN (Maoist), led by Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya, is likely to leave the party by the second week of this month if party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahalfails to take any “miraculous and bold steps”, say party
The rift in the Maoist party, which widened since the party took the line of “democratic republic” in 2005, has ultimately led the party to an imminent split after the seven-year-long bickering and tussles among rival factions.
Although Maoist Standing Committee member Krishna Bahadur Mahara is offering alternatives to save the party from a split, Baidya, one of the founders of the Maoist party, is all set to register a new party for what he calls to preserve “revolutionary ideals of the Maoists.” While the establishment and Baidya factions seem mentally prepared to part ways, leaders do not rule out a last-minute deal between the rivals to avert the split.
The dispute inside the party became apparent after the Chunwang meet in 2005 when the party took the line of democratic-republic, leading to its alliance with other parliamentary parties as well as maintaining cordial relationship with India. The Baidya faction was demanding declaring India as a “principal enemy” of the party but Chunwang decided to build good relationship with New Delhi.
The Baidya faction has been irked by the party’s line of democratic republic, but Dahal for a couple of years tried to convince them citing “democratic republic” just as a tactical move and the party is committed to achieve “people’s federal republic.”
“Now, it’s crystal clear that Dahal is not committed to people’s federal republic and he has embraced the parliamentary system, so we need to take a new initiative to preserve the ideology [people’s republic],” said Central Committee member Bharat Bam.
The agenda of “democratic republic” was floated by party’s Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai in a meeting and latter supported by Dahal. For many years, Dahal tried to cajole both Baidya and Bhattarai, sticking to the path of democratic republic and people’s republic. The establishment faction maintains that due to geo-political situation it is not possible to establish people’s republic, while the hardliners are not ready to buy that argument.
When the Maoist party signed the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) with parliamentary parties in 2006, the rift inside the party widened. During the war, the Maoists had formed an army, base areas and people’s government, which were dissolved immediately after the CPA was signed. According to Maoist leaders, Dahal took those decisions without any consultations within the party.
Last year, when Dahal took the line of peace and constitution with a commitment to inclusive and competitive democracy, differences between Dahal and Baidya reached a climax. The Baidya faction argued that Dahal and Bhattarai walked down the “road to revision” and accused the establishment faction of ignoring party’s promises. The intra-party rift took a new turn when Dahal decided to hand over its weapons and combatants to the Nepal Army on April 10.
Party leaders say, besides ideological and political differences, individual tussles among top leaders and Dahal’s working style are to be blamed for such a scenario in the party. Baidya, known as Dahal’s political guru in the party, also played a vital role to place the latter in the party’s leadership. “As a political guru, Baidya had expected Dahal to work as per his expectations and guidelines. But after entering the peaceful politics, he lost his grip over Dahal,” said a leader close to Dahal.
During the insurgency period, the relationship between Dahal and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa had been far from cordial, with the party taking action against Thapa for the “illicit relationship” with a leader.
When the rift between Dahal and Baidya reached its climax, Thapa also revolted against Dahal and joined Baidya camp. Similarly, CP Gajurel also fell out with Dahal during and after the insurgency. Gajurel, who joined the Maoist party before Dahal, always felt “uncomfortable” working with the party chairman.
A leader said Dahal’s failure to cajole popular and emerging leader Netra Bikram Chand is another reason for the possible split in the party.
After joining the peaceful politics, Dahal elevated Barsa Man Pun above Chand, an influential leader from hard-line camp.
Despite the hardliners’ weak position in the CC, the establishment faction fears that the formers’ exit from the party will hugely weaken their position at the grassroots level.
Even the establishment faction leaders confess that they have somehow deviated from the party’s core ideology and a chunk of cadres would support Baidya faction after the split. “However, they cannot justify the split as they lack clear ideological and political line,” said Politburo member Haribol Gajurel. Forty-three out of the 147 Central Committee members have supported the Baidya faction.
Beside that three out of the seven-member office bearer belong to the hard-line faction.
Dahal’s working style is also equally responsible for the deepening crisis in the party, the party supremo taking unilateral decisions on several occasions.
- Dahal faction calls plenum, Baidya national gathering, Split in Maoist party imminent (himalini.com)
- Dahal mulls sacking hard-line MPs over policy (himalini.com)
- Baidya, Thapa fault Dahal in communist jargon (himalini.com)
- Hardliners’ riders for UCPN-M unity (thehimalayantimes.com)
- Split in Maoist party imminent (thehimalayantimes.com)