POST B BASNET/KIRAN PUN
KATHMANDU, Aug 25: UCPN (Maoist) hardliners have opposed the peace proposal put forward by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal that includes handing over to the Special Committee the keys of the weapons containers kept at the 28 cantonments for Maoist combatants.
Maoist Chairman Dahal had put forward the proposal at a meeting of the party´s top office bearers on Wednesday.
According to sources, Baidya took strong exception to the proposal, terming it an "act of capitulation to regressive forces", and backed by General Secretary Ram bahadur Thapa and Secretary CP Gajurel, he demanded a Standing Committee meeting for further discussions.
"The Standing Committee meeting on Thursday would bring out concrete proposals on peace, constitution and government," said Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha after the meeting on Wednesday.
The party stated that they needed to hold the Standing Committee meeting to discuss the issue further as some leaders had reservations over the proposal.
"Stepping back from the earlier stance, the proposal is aimed at meeting the demands of the other parliamentary parties. So the leaders demanded a meeting of the Standing Committee," said Maoist Standing Committee member Netra Bikram Chand, who is regarded as right-hand man to Baidya.
With backing from Bhattarai, the Maoist chairman commands a comfortable majority in the Standing Committee and the proposal is likely to be endorsed at its meeting on Thursday. "The Baidya group cannot disrupt the process now. All they can do is write a note of dissent," said a senior party leader close to Dahal. Sources say the party would rather seek to garner a consensus on the peace proposal, heeding Baidya´s demand also.
What irked the Baidya group was the flexibility adopted in the peace proposal backed by Bhattarai.
Sources say Dahal has stated that the party should accept pegging the integration number at 7,000. Previously, the NC and the UML have proposed around 6,000 and the Maoists 8,000.
To facilitate the process, Dahal has also proposed giving political space to senior PLA commanders in the cantonments who are members of the party´s Central Committee (CC).
"We would be flexible on other issues as well and negotiate with the other political parties," said a leader close to Dahal.
Leaders say the party would make the proposal public after the meeting on Thursday, preferably at a press meeting. The Maoists want to show the other political parties and the international community that they are sincere about the peace process, they said.
Published on 2011-08-25 00:00:01