Dahal bats for alliance to safeguard interests

  • Bhattarai advocates new political force; Shrestha for revamping party
Dahal bats for alliance to safeguard interests

May 1, 2014-

Claiming his party an agent of change, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said the onus lies on the Maoists to guarantee a pro-people constitution.

Inaugurating a national convention of the party in Biratnagar on Thursday, Dahal called on all the political forces—Madhesis, Janajatis, Muslims and Dalits—to unite and exert pressure to ensure a progressive constitution.

A key leader of the ongoing peace process, he wants to press the ruling Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML for timely promulgation of the national charter.

Even after the election of the second Constituent Assembly, the chief of the third largest party said, there was still no guarantee of a new constitution. The statement comes at a time when five CA committees have got down to constitution writing, resuming the task where it was left after the dissolution of the first CA.

Dahal underlined the need for a lasting alliance of like-minded parties as the chances of any one securing a majority in general election appear “slim for the next 10-15 years”.

Stressing the need for a broad alliance of forces representing all classes and geographies of people, the Maoist supremo said, “Politics in South Asian countries shows that a single party will not secure a majority. Hence our preparations for an alliance with likeminded parties.”

The party plans to unify with Leftist forces, mainly the breakaway CPN-Maoist. The convention is expected to pass a resolution on allying with communist parties.

Addressing the event, senior leader Baburam Bhattarai said a campaign has begun for forming a new political force. The Maoist ideologue said old party, ideology and leadership are not sufficient to lead a new force.

After the party’s unexpected loss in the November 19 election, Bhattarai has been advocating the inevitability of a new political force.

“We have initiated a serious debate once again. Political revolution is over with the onset of a new phase of socialism,” said Bhattarai, pressing the need to transform the party leadership.

Another key leader, Narayan Kaji Shrestha wants the party to revamp itself to retain its revolutionary zeal.  “Or else, there is the possibility of our party turning into a Nepali Congress or CPN-UML,” he said, charging that the two parties have lost their original character and made opportunistic moves in parliamentary politics.

In the Maoist discourse, the word transformation means that the party has abandoned the key principles of a communist party which should be retained. Shrestha and Bhattarai argue that the party has lost its proletariat image with a new mix of the haves and the have-nots against the ideology.

Shrestha said Dahal’s leadership may be continued but he should transform himself. “Our party has been like one of bourgeois and we should retain our original image,” he added, regretting that there were problems of factionalism, code of conduct violation and lack of impartial evaluation. According to convention management committee coordinator Gopal Kiranti, around 1,500 leaders and cadres are attending the event. An additional 400 are volunteers and observers. The local administration has beefed up security for the convention by deploying a huge number of personnel.

The closed session of the convention begins on Friday. Dahal is scheduled to present a political document addressing issues related to party organisation and ideology. Indicating an ideological transition in the party, Chairman Dahal has called for formulating a new doctrine to suit the present context, according to leaders. He sees an ideological divide in the party. The policy of “protracted people’s war” exists no more and a new policy has not been adopted, putting the party in a state of indecision, Dahal notes in the report. “The party cannot do well in the present set-up so we need to prepare to adopt a new ideology.”

Published: 02-05-2014 08:50

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