Baidya faction announces protests against govt, for people´s statute
KATHMANDU, March 18: In a clear manifestation of widening intra-party rift, the Maoist radical faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya on Saturday announced separate protest programs to topple the “anti-national” government led by their own party and frame a “people´s constitution”.
“It is important to formulate immediate programs and a plan of action to mobilize the people and the party in a campaign for certain things including dissolution of government and framing a pro-people constitution,” said Maoist secretary CP Gajurel, who is close to Baidya.
The party establishment has dubbed the move a “conspiracy” to disrupt the peace and constitution drafting process.
“They mean to disrupt the peace and constitution drafting process. It is also their frustration at not getting space in the government,” said Maoist Spokesperson Dinnaath Sharma.
Relations between the Baidya faction and Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has soured recently after the latter failed to fulfill his pledge to Baidya to dissolve the current government and launch mass mobilization programs for the sake of a “pro-people constitution” and “dignified” PLA integration.
Gajurel, who leads the United National People´s Struggle Committee, stated that the protest programs had to be announced as the party establishment did not implement the decisions of the last central committee (CC).
“The chairman had agreed to recall the prime minister in a week. We waited for four weeks, but the chairman did not implement the decision. Later, he said that he could not dissolve the government led by Bhattarai,” said Gajurel while speaking at a press meet in Kathmandu.
The Maoist secretary claimed that his faction doesn´t intend to split the party by announcing separate political programs. “We cannot realize the ideal of revolution if we split. Rather, we want to unite the revolutionaries,” said Gajurel.
The hardliners stated that it is not against party discipline to announce separate programs. “As per the rules, we have informed the party about the programs. So we have not violated the party´s decisions,” said Gajurel.
The Baidya faction has announced its programs for five broad topics: nationalism, people´s constitution, peace process, national consensus government, and the people´s daily lives.
But the dates for implementations of the programs have not been announced.
“We will launch the struggle phasewise till May 28 (the constitution drafting deadline),” said Gajurel.
In a statement issued during the press meet, the hardliners have stated that they are for completing “four types of preparations” and are committed to the party´s tactical line of people´s revolt.
Under the struggles for the peace process, the faction has decided to simultaneously push for the framing of a national security policy, pressure the government to arrange relief packages and treatment for the injured and the kin of martyrs and the disappeared, pressure the party to address the reasonable demands of the YCL, and take the stance of framing a pro-people constitution and dignified PLA integration, among other things.
The Baidya faction also expressed reservation on some recent government decisions in hydropower sector calling them anti-national. It blasted the 10-point joint statement issued after the recent ministerial-level talks on water resources with India held in New Delhi on February 15 for agreements on formation of Pancheshwar Development Authority, preparation of the detailed project report (DPR) for Koshi High Dam and construction of east-west dams for flood control across the Nepal-India border.
The hardliners have also slammed the recent cabinet decision to provide land to GMR Company on lease for development of Upper Karnali Project.
´PM won´t step down´
Meanwhile, the prime minister´s political advisor Devendra Poudel on Saturday said that the prime minister would not step down under the current circumstances.
“The prime minister is not going to step down just because a particular person does not like him,” said Poudel speaking at Reporter´s Club, Nepal on Saturday.
He stated it is not appropriate to demand resignation of the prime minister at a time when political parties are likely to reach an agreement on the peace and constitution drafting process.
He maintained that Bhattarai would resign only if he faces a no-confidence motion or political parties agree on a new consensus prime ministerial candidate.
Poudel criticized the Mohan Baidya faction of the UCPN (Maoist) for demanding resignation of the prime minister.
“It is nothing but foolishness to label the prime minister as an anti-nationalist,” he stated.
In a separate context, Poudel said that the government would not withdraw its decision to provide financial aid to the Maoist Everest expedition team.
“One can protest the government decision,” argued Poudel, adding, “But the government will not withdraw its decision.”