Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Dahal at resort to mull strategy

KATHMANDU, April 19: Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal reached a secluded resort on the outskirts of Kathmandu Monday to chart out the party´s new strategy in the face of constitutional crisis that looms after May 28, the deadline for constitution-drafting.
Dahal, accompanied by his son Prakash and nephew Samir, is at Pataleban Resort on the border betweenKathmandu and Dhading districts.
Party leaders say Dahal will prepare a political document during his overnight stay at the resort, after reviewing the party´s current tactical line of urban insurrection and thrashing out new political programs aimed at concluding the peace process and constitution-drafting. “The chairman is preparing a document outlining how the party can take effective measures to conclude the peace process and constitution-drafting,” said Maoist leader Shakti Basnet who is close to Dahal. The political document will be debated at the party politburo beginning Thursday.
Basnet dismissed speculation that the party is changing its current tactical line, but added that it wants to make the Constituent Assembly (CA) result-oriented and take the peace process to a logical end.
The Maoist party´s current tactical line, passed by majority vote at the central committee, is to push for a ´people´s constitution´ through peaceful means, and if that fails, to launch a revolt to capture state power.
Party hardliners led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya are not happy with Dahal for not formulating programs to implement the party line on revolt, while moderates led by Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai want a ´progressive constitution´ that makes compromises.
Dahal and Bhattarai share the same ideological line, but Dahal forged an alliance with Baidya, who is organizationally strong, and got the political line of revolt endorsed by the party, sideling Bhattarai, who is popular among the masses.

With the CA term expiring in a month, Dahal is hard-pressed to choose between peace through compromises and the so-called revolt.

According to party sources, Dahal plans to adopt maximum flexibility to formulate a new constitution, conclude the peace process and even extend the CA term that expires on May 28.  

"We had better discard the current tactics of leftist majority in favor of a consensus-based government, bringing the NC on broad. Otherwise the country is sure to plunge into crisis,” says Maoist leader Ram Karki who is close to Bhattarai.     

The Maoist party has reached a conclusion that the country would see a ´counter-revolution´ and direct rule by the president if the CA is dissolved. “So the party wants to give the political transition a safe-landing,” said a Maoist leader close to Dahal.

But things are not easy for Dahal. He is besieged by hardliners, with the Baidya faction against changing the current line and demanding that the party bring out programs to launch a revolt. 

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