Vote fails to plug hole in UCPN (M)

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

May 25, 2014-

The intra-party rift in the UCPN (Maoist) deepened further on Sunday with the Baburam Bhattarai faction staying out of the election for party’s Politburo members.

On Sunday, 51 members were elected to the Politburo, but the party decided to postponed vote for the Standing Committee and Office Bearers until Monday. Of the 151 CC members,  leaders close to Bhattarai and eight additional leaders skipped the election. The Bhattarai faction boycotted the internal polls held for the first time in the party’s history, arguing that it was meaningless to put party’s other structures to the vote when the Central Committee (CC) was formed through a nomination process.

Interestingly, more than half a dozen leaders from the Bhattarai camp were elected to the party’s Politburo. Bhattarai loyalists, however, said they will not serve as Politburo members and will remain as CC members.  

The latest development has raised many doubts over party unity. But leaders of the Bhattarai faction assure it will not affect the functioning of the party and that they will remain united until the next General Convention.

“The CC still holds the key in decision making. We are not in some structures of the party, but that does not suggest there will be problems,” said Kumar Poudel, a leader close to Bhattarai.

At the party’s national convention earlier this month, the Bhattarai faction had refused to join the CC but later joined the party’s crucial decision making body.

The party decided to hold the election for Politburo members after the rival factions failed to pick members through consensus.

The CC members voted for the selection of Politburo members, who in turn vote to elect the Standing Committee. At the national convention held earlier this month, the party had reaffirmed Pushpa Kamal Dahal as the chairman and formed a 99-member CC without voting. During the national convention held in the first week of May, the party avoided an election but it retook the option this time around after rival factions of failed to strike a deal.

A high number of aspirants and appointment of general secretary are among the reasons that led the party to vote, according to leaders.

Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Barsha Man Pun of the Dahal camp are setting their sights on the general secretary, while Bhattarai is backing Top Bahadur Rayamajhi for the post.

Bhattarai has demanded three posts in the Office Bearers, five in the Standing Committee and 10 members in the Politburo, leaders said.

The simmering dissatisfaction has led both Bhattarai loyalists and those close to Dahal to skip the election for fear of further tensions in the party. “Despite the election, the party is not going in the right direction,” said a leader close to Dahal.

Published: 26-05-2014 08:50

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