General

In U-turn, Dahal proposes tough stance against India

- KAMAL DEV BHATTARAI, KATHMANDU
In U-turn, Dahal proposes tough stance against India

Jan 18, 2014-

In an apparent reversal of its policy towards India, the UCPN (Maoist) leadership has proposed to take up all over again the party’s movement for national independence (rastriya swadhintako andolan).

In his political document tabled at the party’s Central Committee meeting on Thursday, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal stated the party made a mistake by giving little priority to the issues related to “national independence” and which is a reason for the party’s poor show in the recent Constituent Assembly election. The party dropped the movement in February last year.

In the Maoist party’s internal discourse, the struggle for ‘national independence’ means to counter ‘expansionist’ and ‘imperialist’ external forces, which is mainly India, said a leader. Dahal has proposed that the party should now prioritise resolving border disputes with India and demand the scrapping of “unequal” treaties, including the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950. Dahal has called for condemnation of various bilateral treaties and agreements, including those on investment, trade and transit, signed between Nepal and India in the past few years.

The policy towards India was one of the major ideological disputes within the party in 2012, which contributed to its split. In the political document presented at the party’s seventh general convention in February last year, Dahal stated that differences with India should be resolved through “political and diplomatic channels”.

In sharp contrast to that position, Dahal’s new document argues that such efforts (political and diplomatic) are insufficient. “Besides, the party should mobilise people to make the movement for national independence effective,” reads the document.

The movement for independence was one of the major agendas of then Mohan Baidya-led faction. After he had differences with Dahal over the party’s policy towards India, Baidya defected along with a significant force of likeminded leaders to form the CPN-Maoist.

After Baidya’s exit, the issue of “national independence” was raised by Shrestha who joined the Maoist party in 2009.

Shrestha has since been criticising Dahal and senior leader Baburam Bhattarai for taking a “softer stance” against India. In the paper presented at the general convention last year, Dahal stated that friendly relations would be maintained with neighboring countries on the basis of mutual benefit and it would ensure national independence. This time, however, Dahal has not elaborated on the party’s position on India and its “interference” in Nepal’s internal affairs as demanded by Shrestha. In an earlier document, Dahal criticised India and proposed waging a “resistance war” against it.

Published: 18-01-2014 08:35

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