Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Dahal swings back to peace, constitution

KATHMANDU, April 20:  Ditching the official party line of revolt, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has swung back to the line of peace and constitution floated by Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai.

In his three-page political document presented at the party politburo meeting on Wednesday, Dahal emphasized the need to conclude the peace process and constitution-drafting to safeguard the political achievements made so far.

“There is a real risk of counter-revolution if we don´t put in best efforts to conclude the peace process and constitution drafting,” a politburo member quoted Dahal´s document. With constitution-drafting deadline just a month away, Dahal was hard-pressed to choose between peace and a revolt.

The Maoist chairman, who keeps on vacillating between the lines of Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya and Bhattarai, put forward three ´compelling´ reasons for changing his ideological posture.

First, the objective reality for revolution has undergone massive changes since the Palungtar plenum held last November. Second, the ´counter-revolutionaries´ are raising their heads and hatching conspiracies. And third, the party has not done enough homework for a revolt.

The Maoist party had adopted the line of revolt through a majority vote at a central committee meeting held a few days after the Palungtar plenum.

“The chairman´s document has deviated from the line and spirit of the Palungtar plenum,” said leader Kul Prasad KC who is close to Baidya.

Earlier, breaking his ideological alliance with Bhattarai, the Maoist chairman had swerved to the hard-line camp when he fell out with Bhattarai after the infamous Khanna garment episode.

In the politburo meeting on Wednesday, Bhattarai threw weight behind Dahal´s proposal, while Baidya launched lacerating criticism against Dahal and accused him of ´deception´. What irritated Baidya all the more was Dahal´s statement that he never proposed changing the party´s line to revolt in a true sense.

“A serious ideological deviation has bedeviled the chairman. The journey of rightist deviation starts from this point. It is a grave betrayal against the proletariat and their dream of revolution,” a leader quoted Baidya as saying.

Baidya also accused Dahal of being a man without any ideological line. “Your claim that you have your own ideological posture between the extreme right and extreme left has been proven wrong. Now there are two lines only [his and Bhattarai´s],” a leader quoted Baidya who also argued that the politburo doesn´t have any right to change the party line adopted by the CC after the Palungtar plenum. The party has called a meeting of the CC for Friday to discuss the issue further.

What next

The Dahal and Bhattarai together command a comfortable majority in the CC and the new document is likely to be endorsed by a majority vote.

“Now it is Baidya´s turn to register a note of dissent,” said a leader close to Dahal.

The hard-line faction is not likely to accept the document easily, and Baidya is likely to present a separate political document in the CC.

“We will not remain as spectators if the document is passed through a majority vote as was the case while sidelining Bhattarai last time. We will demand a plenum,” said a leader close to Baidya.

But there is virtually no possibility of holding a plenum as the constitution-drafting deadline approaches. “The disputes would be over for now after Baidya registers a note of dissent,” said a leader close to Dahal.

Party hardliners say they never fully trusted Dahal, who has always been dillydallying to bring out programs for a revolt.

The party endorsed the line of revolt in the famous Kharipati meeting, but the party establishment never charted political programs to implement the line. “He is against launching a revolt. We did not fully believe that he would embrace revolt as official line of the party. And he showed his true colors today,” said a leader from Baidya faction, which believes that Dahal had joined hands with Baidya for the latter´s organizational strength.

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