KATHMANDU, June 30: Amid a row over nominations to the party central committee (CC), UCPN(Maoist) Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai has threatened to quit his post.
During the ongoing CC meeting at party head office, Parisdanda on Saturday, he announced his resignation from the post of vice-chairman, arguing that the leadership should start making sacrifices by giving up their respective posts.
He claimed that he had decided to resign from his post after no other leader seemed ready to leave his post or remain in a lower rank in the party.
After the resignation announcement, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal called a joint meeting of party office bearers, former standing committee members and chiefs of state committees at Parisdanda. But the meeting failed to find any solution.
“The discussion is ongoing. We will resolve things tomorrow,” spokesperson Agni Sapkota told Republica.
Why Bhattarai announced resignation
What is the reality of the resignation? Is it really just the sacrifice he has mentioned in his speech or is there something more to it?
Maoist leaders from the Dahal and Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha factions are not ready to accept what Bhattarai claims as his sacrifice. They said Bhattarai has announced he is quitting just to save the nominations of his faction leaders which Dahal has proposed but those in the Dahal faction have strongly object to. The Dahal faction leaders have been indicating him in their objections.
“The Dahal faction was coming down heavily on the Bhattarai faction and Bhattarai has announced his resignation in retaliation,” said Suk Bahadur Roka Magar, a party CC member.
The Dahal faction said Bhattrarai was afraid to face criticism, and he wanted to be leader of just his faction, not of the party.
“Going by his speech, he has announced his resignation just to save his faction leaders,” said a leader close to Dahal. According to him, Bhattarai had said that he has recommended just Devi Khadka and Balkrishna Dhungel.
“Who does Bhattrarai think he is? He also has to listen to criticism the way Dahal does,” added a leader close to Dahal.
Not only the Dahal faction, the Bhattarai faction also said that Bhattarai´s resignation is connected with saving the leaders of his faction.
“Bhattarai announced his resignation following strong criticism from the Dahal faction that Dahal´s proposal favored the Bhattarai faction,” Khagaraj Bhatta, a proposed politburo member close to Bhattarai, told Republica.
Leaders close to Dahal alleged that those in the Bhattarai facation had been leap-froged over others in the proposed nominations.
Bhattarai´s wife Hisila Yami is proposed for treasure among party office bearers, directly from the party politburo level. Office bearers are two steps higher than politburo members. Similarly, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi is proposed as secretary, Debendra Paudel as party standing committee member and Ganga Shrestha as politburo member. They are close aides of Bhattarai. More than one and half dozen leaders are proposed from the Bhattarai faction for the 151-member full CC.
Leaders close to Bhattarai say that he was humiliated in the party for years. They say that at times he was accused of being connected with India and ´RAW´.
“The party [Dahal faction] treated Bhattarai in step motherly fashion for 20/25 years,” said a leader close to Bhattarai. But even his own faction also blamed Bhattarai for neglecting his faction leaders who had made sacrifices for him during crises.
“When Bhattarai became prime minister, he was not able to see anyone except his own relatives, Gorkha district and those in his periphery,” added Bhatta.
Those in Madhes, Seti-Mahakali and others are also not satisfied. They said “Dahal, Bhattarai and Shrestha are all the same when it comes to humiliating Seti-Mahakali. They have the same mindset when looking at the western regions,” added Bhatta.
The leaders also said that announcement of resignation is an old Bhattarai habit. They say that he had from time to time threatened the party leadership with resignation from his post. He would say he wanted to write a book or publish a magazine.
What does resignation indicate?
The announcement by Bhattarai shows that the rift between the factions in the Maoist party has come to the surface and also proves that announcements time and again by Dahal, Bhattarai and Shrestha that the factions are all dissolved are simply false.