KATHMANDU, Sept 3: The intra-party rift in the UCPN (M) has widened further with the faction led by Senior Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya on Friday announcing a nationwide campaign against the party decision to hand over the keys of arms containers to the Special Committee.
Defying calls by the party leadership, the Baidya faction decided to launch a “national awareness campaign” starting Saturday.
Leaders from the faction told Republica that they would paint walls and hold corner meetings to protest the party establishment´s decision to hand over the keys of the arms containers to the Special Committee.
Baidya and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa on Friday evening issued a statement demanding that the party chairman and the government scrap the decision.
As the feud intensifies, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Friday morning issuing a statement appealed to the party rank and file and the general public not be provoked by the activities of Baidya faction and instead support the party decision. Dahal said the party´s decision is legitimate and termed the activities of Baidya as being against the party system.
“The statement issued by Vice-chairman Kiran (Baidya) that the Special Committee´s decision (to accept the keys of the containers) is against the party decision has left us stunned,” Dahal said in the statement.
The intra-party rift, which was brewing after the Dhobighat meeting in June, burst out after Baidya issued the statement on Thursday protesting the keys handover.
But Chairman Dahal said on Friday that Baidya´s move was against the “party system and decision”.
“The chairman had proposed keys handover at the party´s meeting and we did not accept the proposal despite discussions for four hours. Therefore, it was not included in the agreement,” said Netra Bikram Chand, who is close to Baidya, to make the point that the decision on handing over the keys was never taken.
The party establishment and the Baidya faction have put forward differing interpretations of the August 25 agreement in the party on keys handover.
Dahal, in the statement, quoting the agreement said the party had “unanimously decided to hand over the keys of the arms containers to the Special Committee if a government under the party´s leadership was formed.” But Baidya has contested the agreement.
The Baidya faction, which launched a nationwide transportation strike for an hour Friday morning, held torch rallies in the evening and boycotted the standing committee meeting called by Chairman Dahal. The Maoist chairman issued the statement after the meeting could not take place.
Though the standing committee members close Dahal and party Vice chairman and Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai had reached to the party headquarters for the meeting, they did not take any decision due to absence of the leaders from the Baidya faction and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa Badal, according to standing committee member Amik Serchan.
Meanwhile, a meeting of the standing committee has been called for Saturday afternoon to discuss the differences within the party. The Baidya faction is likely to demand a meeting of the central committee.
Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai is meeting both Dahal and Baidya Saturday morning before the standing committee meeting.