Maoist leaders ask who controls party’s kitty

  • Discontent brewing in the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led party after Phase II local polls
- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu
Some leaders have attributed party’s poll failure to party’s reluctance to provide local leaders with required resources

Jul 16, 2017-When the results of the first phase of local elections were out, the CPN (Maoist Centre), which was a distant third after the CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress (NC), put a brave face on its poor showing, saying the “party is not disappointed as such”.

The party expected an increase in the number of seats when the second phase polls were held in Provinces 1, 5 and 7 on June 28. But results did not come in its favour. The number of seats rather went down to 38. 

The second phase polls were held for 334 local units, while the first phase was to elect representatives for 283 local units. 

Some party leaders are now questioning why the party failed to perform well during the second phase of polls which were held in provinces where the Maoist Centre had comparatively better hold. 

Some leaders have attributed the failure to party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s way of running the party, saying that party’s resources are so centralised that they are controlled by “only a handful of people” who are close to the chairman. 

Discontentment in the party grew after many local level leaders claimed that lack of resources was one of the major reasons for party’s poor showing in the polls. 

“The party was reluctant to provide local leaders with required resources,” said Maoist leader Mani Thapa after the party’s headquarters meeting on Tuesday when the leaders assessed the second phase local elections and the results. 

Party’s Kathmandu district in-charge Lekhnath Neupane said there was no support at all from the centre even though the party chairman had promised all the support required for the elections. 

Party’s Dhankuta district in-charge Hemraj Bhandari said resources were not mobilised in a balanced way across the provinces, which led to party’s drubbing in the local elections. 

Many leaders claimed that the party poured resources only into places like Bharatpur, Rolpa and Rukum among others. Chairman Dahal’s daughter Renu Dahal is the mayoral candidate in Bharatpur where vote counting has been stalled since May 28 after the fracas in which some Maoist Centre representatives had allegedly torn 90 ballot papers.

The Maoist party, which emerged as the single largest party in the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, faced a humiliating defeat five years later when the second CA elections were held in 2013. 

Party insiders blame the top leadership, especially the chairman and his team of a handful people, for the party’s fall from grace. Leaders, however, refrain from speaking anything openly for fear of retribution. 

In may last year, 10 Maoist parties merged to become the CPN (Maoist Centre) in a bid to create a greater influence on the country’s political spectrum. But some leaders, who refused to be named, said nothing has been done to a revitalise the party organisation. 

According to local level leaders, the party managed to win a few seats in some districts “only because of the leaders’ individual strength in the respective areas”. 

Leaders like Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Shakti Basnet are particularly unhappy with the party leadership for what they say the tendency to call a meeting just to inform about the decisions. 

When Dahal decided to send Krishna Bahadur Mahara to the Sher Bahadur Deuba government in June, Shrestha and Basent had, according to party sources, told the leadership not to call them in meetings which were only meant for passing information about a decision. 

“We don’t know where the party’s resources go. Most of the districts where the two phases of local levels were held did not get support from the centre,” said a headquarters member, adding that the party is getting poorer and a handful of leaders richer by the day.

Some leaders, who claim the party is being run as a private fiefdom of Dahal, Mahara and Barshman Pun, said they are planning to raise the issue during the party’s extended secretariat meeting set to begin on July 17.

Published: 16-07-2017 08:37

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