Return to the fold

  • Baidya’s reentry must not deviate the Maoist party from peace, constitution
Return to the fold

Dec 14, 2014-

Now that the radical faction of the CPN-Maoist led by Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplab’ has broken with the party, it has become easier for the group’s remaining leaders to seriously consider reunification with the mother party—the UCPN (Maoist). In recent days, leaders of the two parties have held extensive discussions on reunification and they seem close to agreement.

This comes as no surprise at all to observers of Maoist politics. It had only been a few weeks after the CPN-Maoist was formed in 2012 that it looked possible that the younger radicals would leave the party sooner or later. There was already talk around then that senior leaders, such as Mohan Baidya and Ram Bahadur Thapa, would return to the UCPN (Maoist) after that. After all, these leaders may be very radical in ideology, but were now elderly and lacked the capacity to carry out a full-blown armed movement. Also, they had close social and professional ties with UCPN (Maoist) leaders, which they would find difficult to break.

The reunification of these two Maoist parties should have been a major event, but in reality it is rather anti-climactic. This is because the CPN-Maoist has almost nothing to offer the UCPN (Maoist). It does not have leaders who can provide fresh strategy or intellectual vigour—all its leaders are tired and tested, and they continue to spout old and tired Maoist rhetoric. The CPN-Maoist does not have an energetic cadre base to help strengthen the UCPN-Maoist—its younger and more active members seem to have all gone to the new Maoist party led by Chand. And the CPN-Maoist does not have any mass support base that could benefit the UCPN (Maoist). In reality, what we are witnessing is an attempt by old and weary members of a one-time radical party to seek warmth and refuge among their long-time comrades.

There seems to be only one function remaining for CPN-Maoist leaders after they join the UCPN (Maoist). This is to support Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal against his rivals within the party. This is a role that leaders like Mohan Baidya played during the war, when they supported Dahal against Baburam Bhattarai. Dahal, therefore, is probably the only senior leader in the UCPN (Maoist) who is happy that Baidya and his followers are coming back to the party fold. However, Dahal should be careful about Baidya’s influence. In the past, Baidya has played a very destructive role through his attempts to sabotage the peace and constitution-drafting processes. As someone who is committed to these processes, Dahal should ensure that Baidya does not influence the party in a way that might lead it astray.

Published: 15-12-2014 09:25

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