Well it has finally happened. The Maoists have joined the UML-led government and have been allocated 11 ministers which will most likely include “Ministry of Information and Communications, Ministry of Law, Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Ministry of Land Reforms, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Health and Population, Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, Ministry of Labor and Transport Management, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and Ministry of Industry.” It is interesting to note that the UCPN(Maoist) has not been, perhaps predictably, allocated any of the security-related ministries that they had originally demanded, although they seem to have been told that they could get the Home ministry in accordance to the originally agreed upon seven-point agreement after the PLA has been properly integrated.
Of course the three main party leaders, Prachanda, Kiran and Bhattarai will not be entering the government, but that does not mean that the factional struggle within the Party has not played out in the allocation of ministries to party leaders. Prachanda has apparently suggested a division of ministerial posts as follows: 4 seats for the Prachanda faction, 3 for the Kiran faction, 2 for the Bhattarai faction and 1 seat for the Prakash faction (the Unity Center faction that joined in 2009 – this faction is the reason that the UCPN(Maoist) has now stated that its ideology is Maoism/Mao Zedong Thought as they argue that this line debate still has to be clarified. I am not sure where they stand in the line debate in the Party and there has not been much reporting that I have seen on their position). I am not sure what is to happened to that 11th seat. It is encouraging to hear that the Maoists have decided that they would ensure that the division of seats will take into account ethnicity, caste and gender. “There will be one candidate each from Janajatis, Madhesis, Newars, Dalits, backward regions and Kirats or Tharus, and two or three women candidates,” said Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma (it has been suggested that Com. Hisila Yami or Dilip Prajapati or Pawanman Shrestha may be given the ministerial seat for the Newar community). However, there has been some preliminary agreement on 4 ministers. According to http://www.myrepublica.com:
KATHMANDU, March 4: The Standing Committee meeting of UCPN (Maoist) on Friday morning finalized names and portfolio of four ministers to be inducted into the government led by Jhalanath Khanal.
According to the party, Krishna Bahadur Mahara will take up deputy Prime Minister and communication ministry and Barshaman Pun will take up the peace and reconciliation ministry. Similarly, Maoists decided that Top Bahadur Rayamajhi will be the minister for physical planning and Khadga Bahadur Biswokarma the tourism minister.
This would mean to suggest that Prachanda’s faction would have 2 (Mahara and Pun) of the 4 seats that he proposed. Bhattarai’s faction would have 1 (Rayamajhi) out of 2 proposed seats and Kiran would have 1 (Biswokarma). It will be interesting to see how the remaining factions are distributed amongst the different factions. It is also interesting that there has been opposition to Mahara being appointed the deputy prime ministerial position by both the Kiran and Bhattarai factions. It must be noted that the two posts that have been provided to the Kiran and Bhattarai factions do not share the same prestige and central authority as those that have been allocated to the Prachanda faction. It will definitely be interesting to see whether in this context whether the Kiran faction will be given the Home ministry when it is reappointed to a member of the Maoist cabinet team when the PLA integration has occurred.
I guess the real questions that these recent developments pose are: 1) what is to happen with the people’s revolt line that was adopted by the CC in December 2010 now that the Maoists have entered the government?; and 2) what are the implications of this development on the line-struggle that has wracked the party for the last few years? Regarding my question I think all we can suggest is a wait-and-see approach. I think the fact that Kiran has agreed to entering the government suggests that Kiran has been convinced of a tactical line which incorporates aspects of both his and Bhattarai’s lines (this position I think is similar to a particular understanding of the Bhattarai line which argues for a two-track process: military preparation, mass mobilization and parliamentary struggle).
Regarding the 2nd question I think that there is only more and more troubling news. Indeed, according to a recently published article in regards to the factional struggle within the ANTUF(R), leading members of the Prachanda faction have been accused of physically attacking the factional leader of the Bhattarai faction. This is but the latest incident in recent months of physical attacks by the Prachanda faction against other Party factions. This is a very disturbing development in the line-struggle and I hope that we will see all of the factional leaders enforcing discipline on their faction-members as to ensure that the line-struggle is non-violent and comradely. Indeed, Com. Mao was clear in dividing the contradictions within the people into two categories: 1) antagonistic contradictions and 2) non-antagonistic contradictions. Fellow Party members in this line-struggle are an example of non-antagonistic contradictions and I hope that this kind of inner-party violence stop immediately.
Maoist tussles halt cabinet expansion (POST B BASNET)
KATHMANDU, March 4: The UCPN (Maoist) on Thursday could not finalize the name-list of the party leaders joining the coalition due to intra-party disputes over power-sharing among the three different factions — each led by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya and Vice-chairman Dr Babauram Bhattarai respectively.
In the meeting on Thursday morning, Chairman Dahal put forward the name-list of five candidates to immediately join the government, but he shelved the plan after the leaders close to Baidya and Bhattarai opposed the proposal.
“Later we agreed to finalize the list of all 11 leaders, to head the ministerial berths allocated to the party, in a next meeting all at once,” said a standing committee member requesting anonymity. According to sources, Dahal proposed the names of Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Dev Gurung, Barshaman Pun, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Girirajmani Pokharel and Jayapuri Gharti Magar for ministers.
Leaders close to Baidya faction objected to the nomination of Pun for minister without portfolio and later as the home minister saying Gurung should be nominated for the post by virtue of his being senior to Pun in the party hierarchy. Opposing the nomination of Pun, Baidya proposed the name of Gurung for home minister.
“Gurung is not only a Janajati, but also senior to Pun. So there is no point in agreeing on the name of Pun for such a crucial ministry as home,” said a standing committee member close to Baidya, adding that Pun is likely to get the ministry of peace and reconstruction. And Mahara, who will be a deputy prime minister, is likely to head the ministry of information and communications.
Similarly, Amik Serchan and Lilamani Pokharel vehemently opposed the nomination of Girirajmani Pokharel, who was the minister for health in the Dahal-led government, for new minister.
“Why should we send only old faces to the cabinet,” a leader quoted Serchan as saying during the meeting. Poharel is close to Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha.
The meeting, which was postponed to 4 pm, had to be put off again as Dahal, who flew to Gulmi after the meeting, returned to Kathmandu late in the evening. The standing committee is scheduled to finalize the name-list during a meeting on Friday morning.
Dahal has planned to pick four leaders from his camp, three from Baidya´s, two from Bhattarai´s and one from among those who joined the party from the Unity Center.
According to sources, Dev Gurung, Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma, Mahendra Pashwan, and Jayapuri Gharti Magar have been proposed from the Baidya camp. Barshaman Pun, Agni Sapkota, RC Chaudhary, Sarat Singh Bhandari and Shakti Basnet from Dahal camp, while Top Bahadur Rayamaji, Dinanath Sharma and Prabhu Sah are the candidates from Bhattarai camp. Similarly, either Hisila Yami or Dilip Prajapati or Pawanman Shrestha have been proposed for minister from the Newar community.
Which party gets what
According to leaders, Maoists are getting the Ministry of Information and Communications, Ministry of Law, Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Ministry of Land Reforms, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Health and Population, Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, Ministry of Labor and Transport Management, Ministry of Youth and Sports, Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare and Ministry of Industry.
Similarly, UML is getting Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of General Administration, Ministry of Forest and Social Conservation, Ministry of Local Development, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, and Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives have been earmarked for the Madhesi People´s Rights Forum (MPRF). According to sources, the government has planned to merge the Ministry of Irrigation and the Ministry of Energy. Ministry of Culture and Federal Affairs and the Ministry of Environment would be left to the fringe political parties.
Maoists to join govt, head 11 ministries (POST B BASNET/KIRAN PUN)
KATHMANDU, March 3: Backtracking on their demand for the home ministry, the Maoists on Wednesday decided to join the government under the leadership of party foreign department chief Krishna Bahadur Mahara.
A meeting of the party standing committee on Wednesday took a decision to this effect. Party leaders claimed that Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal would give them charge of the home ministry after the process of integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants moves ahead and shows signs of completion.
“We decided to join the government under the leadership of Mahara. We have been allocated 11 ministries in the current coalition and we will finalize the list of candidates joining the government on Thursday,” said party spokesperson Dinanath Sharma after the hours-long party standing committee meeting.
Leaders close to the camps led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya and Dr Baburam Bhattarai are not happy with the decision to let Mahara lead the government. Mahara came into controversy over an audio tape in which a voice, allegedly his, asked a Chinese businessman to provide his party Rs 500 million for buying the support of lawmakers from other parties for a Maoist-led government.The Maoist party is yet to decide the list of leaders joining the government.
According to sources, there is near consensus on the names of Dev Gurrung, Barsaman Pun, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Girirajmani Pokharel and Jayapuri Gharti Magar.
Gurung and Gharti Magar are close to Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya and Rayamajhi is close to Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai, while Pokharel is close to Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha. Dahal, Baidya, Bhattarai and Shrestha are the top four leaders of the Maoist party.
According to sources, the Maoists have finalized the party policy and leadership for joining the new government, but they are yet to officially pick the leaders.
Under the policy, the Maoists stated that they would select leaders for the government reflecting ethnic and regional diversity, but the name-list was yet to be decided.
“There will be one candidate each from Janajatis, Madhesis, Newars, Dalits, backward regions and Kirats or Tharus, and two or three women candidates,” said Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma.
There are disputes among the top three leaders over who would join the government. Possible candidates are Dev Gurung from Janajati, Hitman Shakya or Hisila Yamai from Newars, Mahendra Paswan or Prabhu Shah from Madhes, Khadga Bahadur Vishwakarma or Tilak Pariyar from oppressed groups or regions, Jayapur Gharti Magar, Amrita Thapa and Pampha Bhusal from among women, Gopal Rai or Padam Rai from the Kirats, and RC Chaudhary or Indrajit Tharu from Tharuwan.
Meanwhile, Maoist leaders Dahal, Gurung, Mahara and party Secretary Post Bahadur Bogati met Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal and informed the latter about the party decision to join the government. They demanded that the Maoists be given the post of deputy prime minister, senior-most position after the prime minister, in the coalition.
The prime minister´s press advisor, Surya Thapa, said that the ministers from the Maoist party would be inducted into the cabinet on Thursday.
“Ministers from other parties will get cabinet berths most likely at another expansion,” he said.
According to sources, the Maoists are likely to bag the portfolios of Foreign Affairs, Peace and Reconstruction, Health and Population, Land Reform, Women, Children and Social Welfare, Labor, Physical Planning and other minor ministries. Leaders close to the prime minister said the names of Maoist ministers and their portfolios will be finalized Thursday.
Sources said the prime minister is going to give the portfolio of Education and Sports to Ganga Lal Tuladhar while another minister, Bishnu Paudel, is likely to get either Ministry of Local Development or Ministry of Energy.
Maoist unionist roughed up by rival faction (Kiran Pun)
KATHMANDU, March 2: The long-standing feud in the Maoist trade union has taken a nasty turn after supporters of Salikram Jammakattel, chairman of All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF), on Tuesday held Lal Dhwaj Nembang, assistant general secretary of the union, hostage for four hours and manhandled him on the premises of the Patan Industrial Area, Lalitpur.
Nembang, who is close to Maoist Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai, said he was attacked without warning. Nembang been active in uniting rival factions in the trade union.
“Around 20-25 goons sent by Shalik Ram Jammakattel broke into the industrial area, vandalized my motorbike (Ba 39 Pa 1107) and tore my jacket,” Nembang said. He has accused Jammakattel, another ANTUF leader Baburam Gautam and Rajendra Timilsina of attacking him, Nembang said, “All this was done under directions from Jammakattel and Rajendra Timilsina.”
Timilsina had recently been suspended from the trade union for beating up two nursing mothers close to Bajgain at Khanna Garment in January.
“They said they don´t know Kiran and Baburam [Maoist vice chairmen] and that they only know Prachanda (Pushpa Kamal Dahal).” said Nembang. He also claimed the New State Committee took a decision to attack him earlier in the morning. Nembang claimed the assailants also hurled obscenities at him.According to Nembang, he was taken to Kalyan Bhawan, and was only released under pressure from the Bajgain faction of the trade union.
But Timilsina has refuted the allegation. “Nembang had gone to the industrial area to form a parallel committee but our friends did not allow him. He was injured as he fell down from his motorbike while returning from there,” Timalsina said.
Meanwhile, Vice-chairman of the union Badri Bajgain issuing a statement condemned the incident and demanded the party to punish the guilty. “It is an act carried out by non-political individuals,” Bajgain claimed.
The incident has taken place at a time when the conflict between the rival factions in the trade union — one led by Jammakattel and another by Bajgain — is at its height.
On Monday, the Jammakattel faction had sacked 12 leaders, including Bajgain, and sought clarification from Nembang, defying a decision of the UCPN (M). Jammakattel is close to Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal while Bajgain to Maoist Senior Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya.
The Bajgain faction had lately formed parallel committee of the trade union and challenged the legitimacy of Jammakattel as the trade union´s chief.
In its bid to stop the conflict from flaring up further, the party´s standing committee last Friday had decided to dissolve the parallel committee formed by Bajgain and directed the ANTUF central committee to hold its fifth national convention.
Punish guilty: Bhattarai
Reacting to the attack on the trade union leader close to him, Maoist Vice-chairman Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai has demanded a probe into the incident to identify and punish the guilty. “The meeting of the standing committee meeting tomorrow [Wednesday] will take necessary decision in this regard,” Bhattarai told Republica.