KATHMANDU, May 25: Recently, CPN-UML politburo members Ram Chandra Jha and Urmila Aryal and actress Rekha Thapa joined the UCPN (Maoist). Earlier also, many UML leaders, cadres and people from other parties joined the UCPN (Maoist). Party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is welcoming newcomers mostly from the UML.
At the same time, the cream of the cadres and leaders who sacrificed their very limbs and family members and happiness in life in the 10-year Maoist war, have been gradually sidelined and bereft of party responsibilities, leaving the party organization in a mess.
Maoist watchers are asking: is this the process of formation of Dahal"s new-style communist party? This was one of the slogans at the party"s Hetauda general convention in February. At Hetauda the party formally converted into a parliamentary party.
Process of transformation from cadre-based to mass-based
Some of the major factors in the party"s split were differences over whether it should be cadre-based or mass-based, and over the political line.
Mohan Baidya wanted a militant party as during the insurgency. But the Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai factions argued that the political revolution was over and the party should now pursue the path of economic development. So finally, the party split.
“The entry of Ramchandra Jha and Urmila Aryal and the exit of Mohan Baidya are clear indications of the move towards a mass-based party from a cadre or militant-based one,” said Suk Bahadur Roka Magar, central committee member of UCPN (Maoist).
Indications of conversion to a mass-based party were already clear when party cadres threw chairs at Chairman Dahal and Vice-chairman Bhattarai at the Bhrikuti Mandap plenum last July.
To convert to a mass based party, cadres and leaders who can fit into open politics --who have money and sound education --are needed.
Welcoming the parliamentary party leaders and cadres, Dahal clearly indicated that the Maoists are now going for a fully mass-based parliamentary party.
Sidelining of war-based cadres, welcoming of newcomers
In the process of forming the new mass-based party, the leaders and cadres from the Maoist people"s war are gradually being sidelined and are not being given any responsibility. Most of the top cadres and leaders of the conflict era are now sans responsibilities.
The main reasoning is that they would not fit into open parliamentary politics. Their gradual sidelining was apparent from the time the Maoists joined the peace process.
While the cadres and leaders who lost their all in the war are not being given any responsibilities, those of them who did get such responsibilities could not survive in the hurly-burly of open politics.
Meaning of new-style communist party
Can Dahal form a new-style communist party? Is it really possible? Will he success in implementing the slogan of the Hetauda general convention?
Even now Maoist cadres and leaders are uncertain what Dahal"s new style communist party means. They were assured that the new-style party would complete the revolution, that it would fulfill the hopes and dreams of the insurgency.
It is not easy to understand what Dahal is saying. Maoist leaders say there is no coherence in what he says and that he is not being honest.
A Maoist central committee member recited the story of a village of rich people who planned to form a pond of milk, each one of them adding a mana of milk to the pond every morning. But some of them mixed water in their daily contribution because they were in fact stingy people, and finally they ended up with a pond of water.
“Dahal himself has been mixing water in the milk,” said Roka Magar. He argued that Dahal"s actions do not reflect honesty though his intention cannot be bad.
According to Roka Magar, it is hard to form a new party such as Dahal wants because the ground reality is very different from what he talks about.
“The leaders have left off studying history and reading books. There is no method to what Dahal has been saying. He just says whatever comes to mind,” said Roka Magar.
“Dahal"s slogan of a new party is just eyewash to attract dissident leaders and cadres from rightist and other leftist parties.
Another thing is that a new class of brokers has emerged in Nepali society. Dahal wants to welcome them in to win elections. ´He wants to form a platform of compradors and brokers,” said Mani Thapa, a former Maoist leader, arguing that this is a technique he has fallen back on after losing the political agenda. According to him, this technique involves taking sides with the "so-called left" in between a "rightist" party like the Nepali Congress and the socialist UML.