KATHMANDU, Dec 25: Presenting a written political proposal at the much-awaited Central Committee meeting of the UCPN (Maoist) Saturday, party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has defended the party’s current line of concluding the peace process and constitution-writing.
He has also proposed the setting up of party forums – debate mechanisms within the party at different levels — to systematize the growing internal differences within the party until the party’s next general convention, a date for which is yet to be announced.
Speaking immediately after Dahal presented his proposal, party Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya, who leads a rival and more radical faction in the party, told the Central Committee that his group will submit a counter-proposal and demanded a one-day break in the Central Committee meeting to prepare the document.
“The party chairman has reached his own conclusion and there isn’t room for much debate or discussion on the party’s future line; so we will submit a separate proposal,” a Central Committee member quoted Baidya as saying.
According to a leader close to Baidya, the top leaders of the faction have already started drafting their own proposal to be submitted by Baidya.
The Central Committee meeting is taking place at a crucial time as the party faces perhaps the most serious internal dispute since it joined open politics after the success of Janaandolan II in 2006, and also because hardly five months are left for promulgating the new constitution.
Whether and how the party manages its internal disputes will have a bearing on the future course of Nepali politics.
Though there are several layers to the intra-party differences among the Maoists, ranging from personality clash to disproportionate distribution of party resources and opportunities, the most serious among them is, the current political line.
The establishment faction led by party Chairman Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai believes that the party must preserve the current achievements accrued from the “People’s War” and Janandolan II, conclude the peace process, promulgate the constitution (even if this demands compromises) and prepare the ground for the next stage of revolution.
The Baidya faction, however, sees the current political line as a surrender and dissolution of the party’s revolutionary spirit.
Dahal’s proposal also contains a scathing criticism of the Baidya faction’s rejection of the “current achievements” and their emphasis on immediate revolt.
“Refusal to draw lessons from the debacle of the international communist movements, failure to make an objective assessment of the balance of power (among the classes) in society and propensity to stand against the people and their wishes just for the sake of revolution and on the basis of dogmatic thinking will eventually assist counter-revolution in the country,” the proposal says.
Dahal has also reminded the hard-line faction that the party did actually try to capture the state even after coming into open politics but it failed miserably.
“Following the resignation of my government [in 2008], we tried our best to transform the then deepening political crisis into a crisis conducive for revolution. But that failed despite our conscious and concerted effort and there shall be a critical evaluation of our weaknesses, limitations and the reactionary conspiracy that contributed to our failure,” reads the proposal, further adding, “The objective conditions for revolt should be analyzed not on the basis of our wishes but on the basis of the current world order and the balance of power among national and international forces.”
Dahal has also defended the Baburam Bhattarai-led government, the four-point agreement signed with the United Democratic Madhesi Front, the seven-point agreement signed among the major parties to conclude the peace process and promulgate the constitution in the next five months, and the progress made in the peace process, especially in categorization of PLA combatants.
Dahal has, however, pointed out some procedural weaknesses in the signing of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with India.
“We could not hold extensive discussions within the party and at the national level on the pros and cons of the agreement, it was signed even when the signing of the Double Tax Avoidance Agreement was deferred and the prime minister also could not remain in touch with the party chairman in the final hours before signing the agreement,” says Dahal’s proposal.
Dahal’s political proposal also makes a harsh assessment of the party’s organizational state. “Our party’s organization is in a state of dissolution. In reality the party has already died—what remains alive is groups and sub-groups within the party and the personal interests of individuals are paying a catalytic role.”
Dahal has proposed an end to the practice of various factions of the party holding separate training and orientation programs.
Instead, he has proposed a two-line struggle in the party whereby the different factions take their views and stances to the party’s various levels through discussions and deliberations at the party forums.
He has also proposed mobilization of party cadres to re-energize the party base.