Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baidya, Bhattarai chart out joint strategy

KATHMNADU, July 13: Tightening the screws on Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, the two factions led by Vice-chairmen Mohan Baidya and Dr Baburam Bhattarai have stepped up a strategy to force Chairman Dahal into a power-sharing deal in the party.

On Tuesday, a day before the crucial Central Committee (CC) meeting the CC members from the Baidya-Bhattarai alliance held a meeting at Dhobighat, Lalitpur, and vowed to "democratize the party and end the chairman´s monopoly."

Following active lobbying throughout the day, Baidya and Bhattarai groups now claim that they are close to garnering a majority in the CC.

Baidya, Bhattarari and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa were present during the meeting. According to sources, of the total 147 members in the CC, 65 signed a paper supporting the alliance whole-heartedly.

Leaders claimed that five other CC members have given their word to support the initiatives. "This shows we are close to garnering a majority in the CC," said a leader close to Baidya. Sources say the CC members led by Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha have also verbally agreed to back the alliance, but it is not yet sure which side they would ultimately take.

The meeting was largely reconciliatory where the top leaders conceded their mistakes and vowed to join hands to "democratize" the party.

"There have even been attempts inside the party to divide us by accusing that I am a reformist and Kiranji [Baidya] is against peace and constitution. Basically both of us are not against peace and revolt," a leader who participated in the meeting quoted Bhattarai as saying. According to the leader, Bhattarai stated that the whole party should try to "transform" Dahal from his current status. If the division of work is not carried out correctly, we won´t be able to reach the party´s goals," the leader quoted Bhattarai as saying.

Similarly Baidya stated that his group revolted against the "monopoly" of communist leader Mohan Bikram Singh and formed a new party, and added that the same tendency has been repeated now.

"While we communists are supposed to move ahead on the philosophic basis of materialism, the party is being run monolithically," a participant quoted Baidya as saying. He had argued that the attempt to hold the party in his grip by the chairman has deepened the crisis in the party.

Thapa was more aggressive than Baidya and Bhattarai. "The way the party is being run will take us nowhere. This must be stopped," a leader quoted Thapa as saying.

He argued that the party needs to repeat another Chunwang meeting, held in 2005 where the leaders conceded their mistakes openly and resolved most of the intra-party contradictions.

The leaders however argued that they don´t mean to remove Dahal from the post of chairman, but want to bring him into the democratic fold.

Another leader Shashi Sherchan, who joined the party from CPN (Unity Center-Masal) stated that the party is going along the path of the bourgeois. "We must transform the party and operate it through collective leadership," a leader quoted Sherchan as saying.

After the meeting, Bhattarai went to the residence of Vice-chairman Shrestha´s residence at Jhamsikhel and asked for his support for the alliance.

Dahal is scheduled to present a political document at the CC meeting, but the alliance has planned to block the decisions on the document arguing that the issue of power-sharing should be settled first.

Dahal rejects power-sharing

Dahal held separate meetings with Baidya, Bhattarai, Shrestha and Thapa. Besides, a group of leaders led by Amik Serchan and Sashi Sherchan also met with Dahal.

In his meeting with the party leaders, Dahal stated that he would not agree to power sharing at this juncture as doing so would send a negative message inside and outside the country.

Dahal expressed such views during his meeting with the group led by Amik Sherchan.

"I am ready to settle the issues of power sharing, but changing the parliamentary party leader and military chief would send a negative message outside," a leader quoted Dahal as saying.

Dahal stated that he would table an action plan for the peace process. "I will table a concrete plan on peace and constitution; the task of categorizing the combatants should be done immediately. I will do it even if there is no one to support me," a leader quoted Dahal.

However in another meeting with the group led by Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha in the evening, Dahal stated that he needs another one and a half months to settle the issues. He stated that he needs time as he is busy coordinating the subcommittee of the CA´s Constitutional Committee, and needs to prepare a draft constitution by August 14 as per the five-point deal. He stated that the issue should be settled in two phases. "Now we can set the deadline for resolving the issues and then we can begin serious work on them," Central Committee member Prakash Pokharel quoted Dahal as saying.

Published on 2011-07-13 00:00:01

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