Recent Articles regarding the Line Struggle in the UCPN(Maoist)

I have been unable to write about many of the recent developments in the UCPN(Maoist) but at the same time don’t feel like that I have really missed much as deadlines and “crucial CC” meetings have come and gone in the last 3 weeks with little progress either way, although this signature campaign is indeed an interesting development. Indeed, there have been some interesting reported instances in which Kiran and Bhattarai factions have opposed the decisions of Prachanda, whilst there have been others where Bhattarai has sided with Prachanda against Kiran as well (I have also attached an article which reaffirms what has been said numerous times before regarding the importance of the mergers in the last few years to tilt the concentration of power at the CC level into the hands of the Prachanda and Bhattarai factions, rather than the Kiran faction – indeed, the split let by Matrika Yadav, as I have said before, has only resulted in a weakening of the Kiran faction). Indeed, the situation has become increasingly fluid, but rigid at the same time. Fluid inasmuch that there has not been a concretization of the factional conflict in any meaningful way and so the different factions are only being able to broker agreements on very particular issues without any consensus on the larger problems that face the party, but rigid as Gaurav says in one of the articles posted below that the “hardliners” have no options besides to either file notes of dissent and accept the decisions of the party or to split the organization. Furthermore, it has become clear that there have become two major poles of contention inside the Party which overshadow the more particular concerns that the Party is experiencing. The first is a concern about the line of revolt which has been discussed ad nauseum. The second concern is regarding the role that Prachanda plays in the Party and the over-centralization of power in one man, and effectively in one faction of the Party. Indeed, Prachanda does not play the role that he previously did which was to reconcile and synthesize the different lines of the different factions Party, indeed, it is clear that Prachanda himself is ideologically adrift and seems completely occupied with power-brokering rather, than any kind of revolutionary politics. However, I am going to simply post a few articles from that I think give a useful snapshot of recent developments in the UCPN(Maoist) so that people can keep an eye on developments inside that organization. I will also put 2 recent interviews in the next post to round off this set of articles and interviews.

UCPN-M standing committee meet Friday 

KATHMANDU, July 8: The UCPN (Maoist) has called a meeting of the party standing committee for Friday, even as the party remains hamstrung by factional disputes over the tactical line and tussles for power.

“Things are moving in a positive direction, but we are yet to reach an agreement. The meeting on Friday will take up the contentious issues to reach an agreement,” said Maoist leader Devendra Poudel.

Maoist Chairman Dahal had postponed the party central committee meeting on June 24 for three days saying he would first hold a standing committee in three days to narrow down the differences, but failed to hold any such meeting due to growing factionalism.

The party hard-line faction led by Baidya has accused Dahal of betraying them by quitting the line of revolt, while party moderates led by Bhattarai have pitched for sharing of power, which is centralized in the hands of the party chairman.

According to sources, the newly formed tactical alliance between Bhattarai and Baidya in a bid to cut the chairman down to size has aggravated the situation in the party.
Baidya and Bhattarai have jointly demanded that the chairman give up his absolute control of the party, and share power with other leaders.

Bhattarai and Baidya faction have demanded that the party make Dahal the chief of the party only, giving the charge of the party´s organization to Baidya, parliamentary board to Bhattarai and military to party General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa.

Leaders close to Dahal say the signature campaign jointly launched by Baidya and Bhattarai has complicated the problem in the party. On June 24, 169 lawmakers from Baidya and Bhattarai factions had submitted a memorandum to the party demanding implementation of the party´s earlier decision to give 33 percent share to women in the new government.

“The signature campaign is the root of the problem. It made the internal contradiction unhealthy,” said Maoist leader Haribol Gajurel who is close to Dahal.

Maoists bickering on issue of returning captured land (Ajit Tiwari)

BIRATNAGAR, July 3: The three factions of Unified Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN)-Maoist are bickering on the issue of returning captured land in Amardaha Village Development Committee (VDC) in the Morang district. 

Baidya and Bhattarai factions have opposed the decision by party establishment to return 107 bighas of land captured in Bhelhi, Amardaha-8, about 10 years ago.

Maoists´ Morang In-charge Shiva Kumar Mandal had reportedly asked the squatters, who were using 24 bigha land of one Devki Pradhan, to vacate the land but Baidya and Bhattarai factions have been insisting that the land has not been released.

Pradhan was returned his 24 bigha land by the Maoists two years ago but around a dozen squatter families have yet to return the land. Pradhan has taken the help of police to take control of his land which is valued at around Rs 24 million.

Meanwhile, Maoist Morang Secretary Kushal Limbu, from Baidya faction, claimed the land was still in the Maoists´ possession. “The land cannot be released merely on the whims of the in-charge without a decision in the party meeting,” Limbu said. Limbu also accused the leadership of remaining silent on the issue of Pradhan´s land and another 25 bighas of one Dilip Dhadewal while he raised the issue in district and state committee meetings.

“The decision to release the land has been in accordance with the party´s decision to not capture any land,” Mandal argued and accused others of trying to bring factionalism into the matter. Limbu, on his part, argued that Pradhan mustered courage to forcibly evacuate squatters with the support of the party establishment.

Maoist combatant Prati Bahadur Limbu, who has been tilling Pradhan´s land, is also confused due to the wrangling. “We have been confused by the conflicting stances but we won´t leave the land,” Prati Bahadur stated.

Maoists holding crucial CC Friday

KATHMANDU, June 24: Amidst growing factionalism and tussles for power, the UCPN (Maoist) is scheduled to hold a crucial CC meeting on Friday that is expected to chart out the party´s course in the peace process.

The party is holding the meeting of the office bearers and then of the standing committee in a bid to minimize the differences among the three factions led by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya and Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai respectively. Party insiders say the meeting is historic as the party stands at a very critical phase of its history and the peace process.

While Dahal and Bhattarai share the line of peace and constitution, Baidya and Bhattarai have forged a tactical alliance to cut Dahal down to size. 

The Baidya faction has so far opposed Dahal´s proposal to hold a general convention to settle the internal contradiction over the party line and formulate a mechanism to hold debates on the ideological issues for now.

“All the issues are not settled by majority votes,” says leader Kul Prasad KC who is close to Baidya.

The major contentious issue is the integration and rehabilitation of the combatants with Baidya opposing the completion of the integration process prior to promulgating the constitution of the “People´s Federal Democratic Republic” and also turning the combatants into a non-combat force.

Baidya has also defied the party´s earlier decision to discontinue security provided to senior party leaders by the combatants.

The hard-line faction has stated that holding the general conventions after a year makes little sense as the party is all set to make compromises on the fundamental principles through majority votes in the CC.

The party establishment has stated that the meeting would set a date to formulate a mechanism to disseminate the views of the hardliners.

“The party is yet to reach an agreement on how to move ahead. But there is no option other than fixing a date for general convention and regulating the debates on internal differences,” says Maoist leader Haribol Gajurel who is close to Dahal.

Gajurel said the hardliners don´t have any choice other than writing a note of dissent and obeying the party decision or splitting the party.

With the backing of the Bhattarai faction, Dahal enjoys a comfortable majority in the CC, but Bhattarai is not likely to lend blanket support to the latter.

Linked with the integration process is process of government formation in which Dahal and Bhattarai don´t see eye to eye. “The chairman has told Bhattarai that he would support the latter as the prime minister, while he has also given words to Baidya that he supports the current government,” said a leader close to Bhattarai.

Baidya is of the view that the current government is “nationalistic in character which was formed against the wishes of India”, and doesn´t want to dissolve it now. “In fact, both factions know that the chairman is setting one against the other on this issue. But he should realize that both issues are inter-linked,” said the leader.

If Dahal doesn´t give his support to Bhattarai on the issue of government formation, the latter is unlikely to back Dahal on the issue. Bhattarai had recently stated that the integration model to make the PLA a “non-combat” force is the DDR model (Demobilization, Disarmament and rehabilitation) and unacceptable to the party.

According to party insiders, Dahal may postpone the CC if the differences are not minimized at the standing committee meeting. 

The party is also holding discussions on the issue of sharing responsibilities among the party leaders and the latest secret meetings held by each faction and the ensuing “anarchy” in the party.

Mergers the real game-changer in UCPN(Maoist) (Kiran Pun)

KATHMANDU, June 24: With the UCPN (Maoist) preparing to endorse the line of peace and constitution, the party hardliners have been left with very few cards to counter the party establishment, which they say is deviating from the ideals of revolution.

Backed by Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai, party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal commands a comfortable majority in the CC to endorse the line, parrying stiff opposition put up by the hardliners.

But, that was not the power equation in the party till three years back. The campaign for unification with fringe leftist parties in the recent years turned the table against the hardliners led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya. 

“The new political developments have proven that the chairman wanted to secure a majority so that he can deviate from the ideology and prevent the party from achieving the goals of revolution,” says Hari Bhakta Kandel from the Baidya camp.

Baidya has strong support from the core Maoists who devoted their lives for the party´s cause. Most of those injured during the insurgency and the kin of the deceased support Baidya.

As the party stands at a very critical phase in history, the hardliners find themselves in an uncomfortable minority, and many of them are recalling those days when their faction was the largest in almost all party committees.

Of the 95-member core Maoist CC, which was active during the insurgency, Baidya has the support of 43, Dahal 34 and Bhattarai 12. Among the six members Rabindra Shreshtha, Mani Thapa, and Matrika Yadav quit the party; Kali Bahadur Kham and Ram Prasad Banjade have been suspended; and Gauri Shankar Khadka died a few months ago.

In 2005, the party downsized the CC to 35 members and giving it the mandate to hold the general convention.
And during the Kharipati national conclave in 2008 when the party was yet to merge with CPN (Unity Center-Masal) led by Narayankaji Shrestha, Chairman Dahal was in minority.

With the backing of Bhattarai, the party establishment secured only 17 votes out of 35 votes at the meeting that endorsed the line of revolt. Party leader Ram Bahadur Thapa and Dinanath Sharma had played the roles of balancers, some say “dubious roles”, during the meeting, and that also kept the line of moving ahead with the peace process alive.
The same meeting also endorsed the proposal to speed up merger with other leftist parties to turn the line of revolt into a success.

“We began the merger campaign to complete the revolution. I don´t blame those parties that merged with us, but now it is clear that the chairman had something else in mind,” says Kandel.

The CPN (Unity Center-Masal) Shrestha merged with the then CPN (Maoist) immediately after the CA elections and the new party was named UCPN (Maoist). Of the 35 new members who joined the Maoist CC, only three joined the Baidya camp. And all the 10 politburo and four Standing Committee members joined the Dahal camp.

After this major merger and other mergers, almost all the newcomers joined either the Dahal or Bhattarai factions.

Similarly, nine members from the CPN (United) led by Nawaraj Subedi and two from CPN (Masal) led by Dilaram Acharya joined the Bhattarai faction.

Among them, only two leftist parties, led by Nanda Kumar Prasain and Harka Bahadur Shahi, joined the Baidya camp.
The Baidya faction also has a majority in the 75-member party Advisory Board and most of the three dozen sister organizations. Baidya faction has more supporters than Dahal´s and Bhattarai´s in the UCPN (Maoist) parliamentary party.

“The chairman should not think that he can go his way through majority votes in the CC. He will be in majority only with the backing of Bhattarai even after so many mergers,” says Purna Gharti from the Baidya faction.


One thought on “Recent Articles regarding the Line Struggle in the UCPN(Maoist)

  1. But once again the political parties indulged in brinkmanship till the last moment before stepping back and agreeing to the extension……The sharp ideological differences and mutual mistrust between the Unified Communist Party of Nepal Maoist and the traditional parliamentary parties mainly the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist-Leninist had rendered the 601-member Constituent Assembly which also functions as a parliament almost non-functional. Hence the non-Maoist parties insisted till the last moment that they would not support the extension of the Assemblys term which needed to be endorsed by a two-thirds majority unless the Maoists handed over their arms to the state immediately and showed renewed commitment to the peace process………..Despite its tough stance the Nepali Congress the second-largest political party in the Parliament finally retreated signing a vague deal for term extension. Yet a month has already passed and there have been no serious inter-party talks on implementation of the deal………..Nonetheless there is cause to believe that the peace process will move forward.

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