Crack resurfaces in UCPN (Maoist) as Dahal, Bhattarai trade barbs

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Crack resurfaces in UCPN (Maoist) as Dahal, Bhattarai trade barbs

Jul 12, 2015-

Dispute between UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and senior leader Baburam Bhattarai has escalated further over several sticking points, most notably the party’s leadership.

The duo on Sunday publicly accused each other of weakening the party, fostering factionalism.

Speaking from the same dais, the two leaders admitted that growing factionalism, fast-eroding communist ideals and lack of clear vision for the party’s future course have put the party in difficulty.

Indicating parallel activities inside the party, Dahal said that actions of his deputies Bhattarai and Narayan Kaji Shrestha often differ from their words.

Bhattarai, who spoke ahead of Dahal, floated the idea of forming of a new political force, consequently irking Dahal. “What is ‘new party’? Is it parallel activities or factionalism?” Dahal hit out at Bhattarai, referring to a gathering the latter had with his supporters two weeks ago.

In a meeting with a group of journalists last week, Bhattarai said there was a need of new political force which could be formed either by transforming the UCPN (Maoist) or forming an entirely new force.

Bhattarai first floated the proposal of forming a new force soon after the November 2013 CA elections only to shelve it later, saying that it would affect the constitution drafting process. But there might be another split in the UCPN (Maoist) as Bhattarai plans to form the political force soon after the promulgation of the constitution.

“We have agreed on the party’s immediate course, yet we are busy creating factions in the party,” said Dahal, hinting at the growing difference in the party.

Earlier, calling the party leadership to mend its way, Bhattarai said it was responsible for creating the rift in the party. “We have to reform the party in terms of leadership, ideology and working style to prevent the dissolution of the party,” he said.

He urged the party men to support the ongoing debate, regarding party’s reformation and creation of a new political force. Shortly after the second CA elections, Bhattarai had said that Dahal had agreed to hand over the party mantle to him in the next general convention.

However, Dahal has since reneged on his previous promise saying that he would continue to lead the party for much longer. Sources close to Dahal say the party chairman is not in the mood to accept a ceremonial president and that he would rather hold on to the party leadership for another decade. Bhattarai, who was nurturing hopes of taking over the party reins at the next general convention, was not amused with Dahal’s position.

Bhattarai also blamed Dahal for his weak leadership for the party’s failure to draft a new constitution when it was in power.

Vice-chairman Shrestha also underlined the need of reformation in the party leadership.

Last year, the party had decided to hold its general convention in February 2016 to settle the issues concerning party’s ideology and organisational structure. While the party has since decided to hold internal discussions to shape party’s ideology, there has not been no preparation for the convention.

‘Federate provinces before statute’

Top leaders of UCPN (Maoist) have said that row over the demarcation of federal states should be settled before the promulgation of the new constitution.

Speaking at a programme, party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, senior leader Baburam Bhattarai and Narayan Kaji Shrestha said the party is in favour of a clear demarcation of federal units.

Dahal requested the party cadres to press for completing the demarcation before the statue promulgation. The party holds that the tenure of the Constituent Assembly (CA) should be extended till the demarcation of federal units are settled.

“The party is receiving suggestions from all quarters to settle the demarcation before statute. So naturally, the party is in favour of it,” said Bhattarai. Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha also shares the idea.

Published: 13-07-2015 07:30

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