KATHMANDU, Dec 24: The ruling UCPN(Maoist) is holding a meeting of its Central Committee on Saturday, after four postponements and amidst widening rift between the party establishment and the rival faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya over a host of issues.
Maoist leaders say that they expect the meeting to yield a picture of how long the party will continue to remain intact, besides seeing the presentation of separate political papers by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Baidya.
The Baidya faction is in a wait-and-see mode before charting out its strategies at the meeting, and leaders of the faction said that their moves will largely depend on how honestly Chairman Dahal presents himself respecting the spirit of the Palungtar plenum on constitution making, national interests, federalism and the livelihood of people.
“The party will continue to remain intact if Dahal presents himself positively at the meeting. If not, discussions on the future of the party will take a new turn. Let’s see how Dahal presents himself,” a leader of the rival faction quoted Baidya as telling leaders and PLA commanders close to him, on the eve of the Central Committee meeting.
At the meeting, Dahal is presenting a political paper outlining the party’s strategies for concluding the peace process and constitution making while Baidya is likely to present a separate political paper contesting Dahal’s.
“The chairman is presenting a political paper proposing programs for mobilizing the people to complete the peace process and constitution drafting,” said politburo member Agni Sapkota, who is close to Dahal.
Sapkota also said that Dahal is going to address all the issues raised by Baidya and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa. The Baidya faction has already lodged its difference over at least 13 issues, including the four-point deal with the United Democratic Madhesi Front and the seven-point peace agreement with other major political parties.
“If Kiranji [Baidya] and Badalji [Ram Bahadur Thapa] do not agree with the political document, the party will hold discussions on their disagreements through democratic centralism and go to the parrty general convention while maintaining party unity,” said Sapkota.
Leaders of the Baidya faction said that Baidya will present his separate political paper at the Central Committee if Dahal fails to accommodate their issues in his paper.
“We have already presented a 13-point issue. We will first see the chairman’s paper before deciding whether we should present our separate paper. Everything will depend on Dahal’s paper,” said Standing Committee member Netra Bikram Chand, who is close to Baidya.
Meanwhile, Thapa said on Friday that the intra-party conflict has reached a serious turn and accused Dahal of playing a dubious role.
PLA commanders meet Thapa
A group of PLA commanders, who met Dahal on Thursday, met Baidya and Thapa Friday and submitted their 10-point demand, including an accounting of the money deducted from their monthly allowances.
Party General Secretary Thapa had accused Chairman Dahal of playing a dual role. He also said that Dahal always did what he did not say he would do.
Talking to PLA commanders who submitted their 10-point demand to him and Baidya seeking transparency in accounts, among other things, Thapa said the future unity of the party depends on Dahal’s activities.
Baidya faction holds secret meeting
On the eve of the party’s central committee meeting, the Mohan Baidya faction held a separate meeting in Jawalakhel on Friday to prepare strategies to contest the party establishment at the meeting.
At the meeting, Baidya, General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa and Dev Gurung accused Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal of making fools of them in the name of party unity, according to participants.
Worried of the secret meeting, Dahal called Thapa and asked him not to reach a conclusion on splitting the party.
The meeting also discussed Dahal’s allegation that the Baidya faction is conspiring to murder him.
Dahal had told Baidya recently that his life was under threat from the leaders of the rival faction. But leaders close to Baidya dismissed the allegation as a ploy.
“Who can pose a threat to his life at a time when he controls the entire party’s military force, the money, government and the state? He has not disclosed the details of the threat; he is orchestrating another drama by making the allegation,” a central committee member quoted Thapa as saying.