KATHMANDU, August 1: As the
troubled UCPN (Maoist) gears up for a crucial meeting of its General
Convention Organizing Committee (GCOC) slated for Wednesday to fill its
71 vacant seats, commentators are watching how Chairman Pushpa Kamal
Dahal will carry out the job, something he has been avoiding for the
last four years.
As per the party statue, the GCOC, which came into existence after the
recently concluded party plenum decided to convert its Central Committee
(CC) into the GCOC, incorporates a total 175 members.
The UCPN (Maoist) had enlarged its CC membership to 148 following the
merger with the CPN (Ekata Kendra-Masal) led by Narayan Kaji Shrestha
and other fringe leftist parties. But it shrank to only 104 members
after the Baidya faction broke away.
Chairman Dahal had called the GCOC meeting last week but it was soon
postponed after failure to reach an understating among the various
factions on the new names on the GCOC along with their responsibilities.
Earlier, the recently concluded plenum had decided to organize the
party´s national convention for the first time in 22 years, in February
GCOC member Krishna Bhujle told Republica that the proposed GCOC meeting
will talk place only if the factional leaders find a consensus on
adding new members. "If they fail, Dahal will have no option but to
postpone the meeting once again," he said.
Sources close to Dahal say that he dropped the idea of taking the agenda
of fulfilling the vacant posts on the GCOC to last week´s meeting after
he received recommendations for 400 names for the 71 seats.
Following the breakaway of the Baidhya faction to form a new party,
three major factional groups have emerged in the party. These are led by
prominent leaders like Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice-chairmen
Dr. Baburam Bhattarai and Narayankaji Shrestha.
Before the plenum, Bhattarai was demanding 40 percent of the seats in
the GCOC and that was the main cause of the postponement of last week´s
meeting, according to sources close to developments.
"As the plenum has ended all factionalism in the party, the demand
itself carries no further meaning," said Bishwabhakta Dulal, member of
the taskforce for selection of new leaders to the GCOC, and expressed
hope that the GCOC meeting will fill the vacant posts.
He dropped a hint about the possibility of inducting 60 members and said
the remaining 11 seats will be kept vacant for the fringe leftist
parties that are expected to merge with the party in the near future.
According to Dulal, the Maoist party has formed a taskforce to set down
criteria for selection, including seniority and status like women,
Dalit, Madhesi/Muslim and Janajati.
According to Gajurel, who is close to Dahal, a meeting is likely to
induct new faces from only among women and the Dalit communities as
members of the GCOC.
Similarly, the GCOC meeting is also expected to allocate crucial
responsibilities in the party that have remained unattended following
the recent split in the party.
According to party leaders, the chiefs of the Newa, Seti-Mahakali,
Bheri-Karnali and Tharuwan state committees have been vacant following