Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mergers the real game-changer in UCPN(Maoist)

KATHMANDU, June 24: With the UCPN (Maoist) preparing to endorse the line of peace and constitution, the party hardliners have been left with very few cards to counter the party establishment, which they say is deviating from the ideals of revolution.

Backed by Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai, party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal commands a comfortable majority in the CC to endorse the line, parrying stiff opposition put up by the hardliners.

But, that was not the power equation in the party till three years back. The campaign for unification with fringe leftist parties in the recent years turned the table against the hardliners led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya.

"The new political developments have proven that the chairman wanted to secure a majority so that he can deviate from the ideology and prevent the party from achieving the goals of revolution," says Hari Bhakta Kandel from the Baidya camp.

Baidya has strong support from the core Maoists who devoted their lives for the party´s cause. Most of those injured during the insurgency and the kin of the deceased support Baidya.

As the party stands at a very critical phase in history, the hardliners find themselves in an uncomfortable minority, and many of them are recalling those days when their faction was the largest in almost all party committees.
Of the 95-member core Maoist CC, which was active during the insurgency, Baidya has the support of 43, Dahal 34 and Bhattarai 12. Among the six members Rabindra Shreshtha, Mani Thapa, and Matrika Yadav quit the party; Kali Bahadur Kham and Ram Prasad Banjade have been suspended; and Gauri Shankar Khadka died a few months ago. In 2005, the party downsized the CC to 35 members and giving it the mandate to hold the general convention.
And during the Kharipati national conclave in 2008 when the party was yet to merge with CPN (Unity Center-Masal) led by Narayankaji Shrestha, Chairman Dahal was in minority.

With the backing of Bhattarai, the party establishment secured only 17 votes out of 35 votes at the meeting that endorsed the line of revolt. Party leader Ram Bahadur Thapa and Dinanath Sharma had played the roles of balancers, some say "dubious roles", during the meeting, and that also kept the line of moving ahead with the peace process alive.
The same meeting also endorsed the proposal to speed up merger with other leftist parties to turn the line of revolt into a success.

"We began the merger campaign to complete the revolution. I don´t blame those parties that merged with us, but now it is clear that the chairman had something else in mind," says Kandel.

The CPN (Unity Center-Masal) Shrestha merged with the then CPN (Maoist) immediately after the CA elections and the new party was named UCPN (Maoist). Of the 35 new members who joined the Maoist CC, only three joined the Baidya camp. And all the 10 politburo and four Standing Committee members joined the Dahal camp.

After this major merger and other mergers, almost all the newcomers joined either the Dahal or Bhattarai factions.

Similarly, nine members from the CPN (United) led by Nawaraj Subedi and two from CPN (Masal) led by Dilaram Acharya joined the Bhattarai faction.

Among them, only two leftist parties, led by Nanda Kumar Prasain and Harka Bahadur Shahi, joined the Baidya camp.
The Baidya faction also has a majority in the 75-member party Advisory Board and most of the three dozen sister organizations. Baidya faction has more supporters than Dahal´s and Bhattarai´s in the UCPN (Maoist) parliamentary party.

"The chairman should not think that he can go his way through majority votes in the CC. He will be in majority only with the backing of Bhattarai even after so many mergers," says Purna Gharti from the Baidya faction.

Published on 2011-06-24 02:30:30

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