Triggers speculation on policy change
KATHMANDU, August 29: Less than a week after talks between the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) and the CPN-Maoist led 33-party alliance on holding a roundtable political conference failed to make any headway, influential CPN-Maoist leader Netra Bikram Chand suddenly left for China on Thursday.
Though Chand is among a few Maoist leaders who visit China frequently, his visit to the northern neighbor this time has set off speculation in political circles in Kathmandu. The visit has courted comment as Chand´s party has kept the visit secret and nothing has been given out to the public whether this is a political visit or not.
Though Chand told his family that he would return home in three days, party insiders told Republica that he will be having high-level political meetings during his stay in Beijing. The visit, according party leaders, was scheduled earlier, but was deferred due to the party´s politburo meeting.
Maoist insiders say Chand has visited China more than half a dozen times over the past year. "He keeps going to China alone time and again. This is also an unofficial visit to China as in the past," said a close Chand aide
During last year´s China visit Chand was accompanied only by party politburo member Hitman Shakya and former PLA division vice-commander Nep Bahadur Kunwar Magar.
Within the CPN-Maoist, Chand is known as a leader who strongly advocates another armed struggle against the state and he is also believed to have a strong nationalist stance on a number of issues. Chanda has a strong hold within the party organization.
Asked if this was a formal visit to China, the party´s international department expressed ignorance about the visit. "We have not been informed about any visit. The visit may be a personal one," Dharmendra Banstola of the international department told Republica.
Banstola said China has been inviting Maoist leaders over frequently as it regards the CPN-Maoist as a trusted political force in Nepal. The party´s leaders also say that China has been inviting Chand because of his unflinching stance on issues concerning Nepal´s nationalism.
Last year, Chand paid an abrupt visit to China while his party´s central committee meeting was underway in Kathmandu.
"China bears in mind its security concerns and therefore wishes political stability in Nepal," Ramdeep Acharya, party CC member, told Republica.
During the visits of CPN-Maoist leaders before and after the party split, China is learnt to have asked them to keep the unity of the UCPN (Maoist) intact. China had reportedly told Baidya during the latter´s visit to China after the party split to unite with the UCPN (Maoist).
It is said that China always wishes to see the two Maoist factions united. As fresh CA elections have already been scheduled for November, there is speculation among political observers in Kathmandu whether this will bring change in the policy of the Baidya Maoists to actively boycott the election.
"It is nothing but normal courtesy to ask for party unity. Lenin also used to ask the communist parties in the USA to remain united. We also ask the communist parties in other countries to be united as a matter of formal courtesy," added Banstola. Maoist leaders, however, say it is not that easy to unite the party any time soon.