KATHMANDU, April 3: UCPN(Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is now confronted by a most serious crisis since the party split, after failing to face up to a series of rejections from rival factions under Vice-chairmen duo Baburam Bhattarai and Narayan Kaji Shrestha and also from his own internal factions, over the organizational setup in the wake of the Hetauda general convention.
Setting out the party´s organization, including giving full shape to the party central committee (CC), is turning out to be a Herculean task. Dahal is facing not only rival factions but also pressure from party leaders to nominate their kith and kin in the party structure.
In order to defer a crisis, Dahal brought up the proposal that the leaders should go out into the field for a month, arguing should be tested in the field. The meeting of the party CC on Sunday not only could not give full shape to the party central committee but also could not nominate the office-bearers and form the party standing committee and the politburo. Within the span of a week, the party found itself doing an U-turn, forming a 399-member CC and then cancelling that decision.
"Chairman Dahal came to the CC with the proposal twice but on both occasions colleagues rejected it citing technical issues", said Ramrijhan Yadav, a CC member close to Bhattarai.
"Who will save you if there is another Dhobighat [when the formation of the alliance of Mohan Baidya, Bhattarai, Shrestha and Sonam Sathi left Dahal in a minority and Bhattarai became prime minister]?," said a leader close to Dahal and urged him to be careful to husband his majority in the organization.
According to Dahal faction leaders, only one crisis has ended for Dahal -- pulling Bhattarai down from the post of prime minister. It was as a result of the Dhobighat alliance that Bhattarai was nominated from the party as candidate for prime minister.
Dahal had backtracked at the general convention to save the party from a split and to preserve his stronghold in the organization. As a result, Bhattarai and Shrestha succeeded in maintaining their grip on the party organization following the general convention. Maoist insiders had guessed that Dahal would emerge the heavy-weight in the party as not one leader in the 63 groups was elected from the Bhattarai or Shrestha factions during the general convention closed session.
Dahal´s main problem now is the nomination of party office-bearers.
"We suggested to him to go for a vote after giving full shape to the CC, in order to choose the secretary of the party and form the standing committee and politburo," said another leader of the Dahal faction.
Dahal wants to fulfill his commitment to nominate Krishna Bahadur Mahara to the post of general secretary, upgrading Post Bahadur Bogati to vice-chairman, and he also wants to nominate Barsha Man Pun as one of the secretaries. But this was opposed not only by the Bhattarai and Shrestha factions but also by a sub-faction under Janardan Sharma. Saying that Mahara was junior in the party, the Shrestha and Bhattarai factions proposed Giriraj Mani Pokharel and Top Bahadur Rayamajhi respectively, instead.
Dahal facing problems within his faction
After failing to nominate Mahara as general secretary, Mahara has taken to sulking, arguing that Dahal has not fulfilled his commitment. He has also already informed Dahal that he can take the post of secretary only if it is to be a unique post. Barsha Man Pun is also silent, indicating he will only speak when it will be to his advantage.
"Some Dahal factions are just bargaining and some others are centered on making him hegemon ´east of Narayani and west of Koshi´ only," said a leader from the western part of Nepal.
According to Maoist insiders, Agni Sapkota and Haribol Gajurel are leading this parochial tack. They claimed that these leaders made Dahal concentrate only on the Narayani to Koshi region. They also said Barasha Man Pun and Janardan Sharma are centered only on their own personal interests.
"Dahal´s aides are also in a wait and see mood. Dahal has just been crying wolf," said a party leader close to him, adding that leaders close to him are also in a ´wait and see´ mood now.