In the last few days there have been regular political programmes held by the Baidya faction of the UCPN(Maoist) and this has ruffled the establishment faction, especially with sharpening rhetoric about the nature of the party and the direction that it is headed in. On a series of key political issues like the 4 point agreement made with the Madheshi parties to ensure Baburam Bhattarai’s Prime Ministerial post (which now Vice-President Mohan Baidya claims was kept secret from him and other top leaders), the handover of the keys to the PLA’s arms in the cantonments, the rumoured relations between Chairman Dahal and Indian secret services (which would in fact would be a very dangerous turn of events for the revolutionary Left not only in Nepal but also India and Bhutan), and the planned return of properties seized during the people’s war, the left-wing faction of the UCPN(Maoist) has staked out clear political positions that are in opposition to that of the establishment faction. Indeed, it is possible that in the process of holding their national programmes and talking to cadres about recent developments in the party and its path forward that the party that the Left will be establish greater ideological clarity for itself on a more comprehensive strategic and programmatic level, and establish a clear revolutionary alternative to the one that is being currently offered by the party establishment.
Disturbingly all of this suggests that the establishment faction has been the active agent in Nepalese politics, whereas the Left faction has been reduced to being solely reactive. I understand why Vice-President Baidya needs to insist that they will only challenge the establishment faction ideologically for the time being, as otherwise it would play neatly into the hands of the establishment faction that the Left faction is actually acting in an anarchic manner and is not simply just airing its views which is permitted under party rules (although it is clear that the establishment faction is also trying to shut down the Left faction’s capacity to address the party rank-and-file which means to suggest that think that there may be popular support for the Left’s political positions, and that the rank-and-file is not completely amenable to these decisions). However, it simultaneously means that the Left faction is no longer playing a key role in establishing the nature of the agenda on the basis of which this ideological struggle is waged. Furthermore, worryingly, if we are to take Vice-President Mohan Baidya’s comments seriously that he and the rest of the leadership had no knowledge about the 4 point deal with the Madheshi parties prior to the deal being signed, much in the same manner that they were not privy to the deal to handover the keys to the cantonments, it strongly implies that a) that effectively here has been the development of a leadership circle within the leadership of the party which has a black box status, in effect a parallel headquarters that is no longer accountable to the formal structures of the party like the politburo; b) that the Left faction of the party is so organisationally weak within the party that they are unable to gather time-sensitive information about inner-party activities and major decisions which they should have knowledge of in real-time of and; c) that the Left faction is so organisationally weak that they are having circles run around them by the establishment faction which says little positive about their leadership capacity.
However, it is welcome to see a Left faction that is willing to take sharper and sharper positions against the establishment faction, although I believe that the Left continues to trail the establishment faction and is going to have to mature its own political positions at a faster pace than has been the case thus far. Furthermore, I think that the Left faction has to clearly demarcate a revolutionary programme that offers sharp relief to the positions of the establishment faction and actually start to establish the agenda for the ideological struggle, and thus go on the ideological offensive rather than simply responding to the decisions of the establishment faction. And Vice-President Mohan Baidya needs to seriously consider using the power that was invested in him, when the part decentralised power from Chairman Dahal, as head the disciplinary panel of the party and launch disciplinary investigations against Chairman Dahal and Vice-President Baburam Bhattarai for possibly colluding with Indian secret services and violating party statuettes about decision-making processes. I do not think that an enfeebled Left faction, unable to do much besides complain about its own predicament, is an attractive option for the majority of rank-and-file comrades. They may share the Left factions distaste for recent developments within the party, but are unlikely to take its leadership unless they feel confident that the Left faction is actually capable of taking on the establishment faction and winning. I have often heard Trotskyists from around the world complain about the slaughter of the Vietnamese Trotskyist movement at the hands of Ho Chi Minh and his party, and I do not want to debate here whether it was a correct thing to do or not, but rather want to state a position of realpolitik: if the Vietnamese Trotskyist movement could not survive the onslaught of Ho Chi Minh and his party then they definitely were not up to the task of taking on the Americans in a prolonged guerrilla war. If the Left faction of the UCPN(Maoist) is not capable of clearly establishing and demonstrating its leadership in the current situation (which is a lot safer than relaunching the people’s war or an urban insurrection), and that includes building the necessary internal structures within the party to gather sensitive information on a real-time basis in order to win the inner-party ideological struggle, then it has no chance of winning a revolution and should just admit that they have been bested by politicians better than themselves, and call it a day.
KATHMANDU, Sept 26: UCPN (Maoist) Standing Committee Member Netra Bikram Chand, who is close to Senior Vice-Chairman Mohan Baidya, has threatened to block the government bid to return properties seized by the Maoists during the conflict.
Addressing a function in Kathmandu on Sunday, Chand announced that he would go to the places where the government will deploy police to return the seized properties and obstruct the police.
“Wherever Baburam [the prime minister] sends police, I will be there. We will see how the police will fire at us,” a participant in the closed-door meeting quoted Chand as saying.
Chand also accused Bhattarai of forgetting the circumstances in which he became the prime minister, a reference to the Dhobighat meeting based on which Bhattarai became prime minister.
The meeting had brought together Vice-chairmen Baidya, Bhattarai, Narayankaji Shrestha and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Badal, which apparently prepared ground for Bhattarai´s election as prime minister.
“He should not forget the ladder that he used to climb up to be the position of prime minister. If he throws the same ladder, how will he ever come down? If he tries to jump down, he will end up breaking his limbs,” the source further quoted Chand as saying during the function.
Similarly, addressing the same function General Secretary Thapa informed that he would table new agendas for discussion–whether Marxism or Buddhism should be the party´s ideology or whether the party should side with bourgeoisies or suppressed group.
Thapa´s remark was an allusion to the fact that party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is a co-chairman of Asia Pacific Exchange Cooperation Foundation that recently floated a plan to develop Lumbini, the birth place of Gautam Buddha.
“The central committee meeting should come up with the party´s work plan and decide on its ideology,” another participant quoted Thapa as saying. Thapa also accused Chairman Dahal of trying to split the party.
“He went Siliguri [India] without informing the party and met with RAW [Indian intelligence] and other persons. He handed over the keys of arms containers without discussing the matter within the party and signed a four-point deal with the Madhes-based parties without informing the party,” he said.
The panel led by Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice Chairman Baburam Bhattarai has served stern warning to the rival camp led by senior vice chairman Mohan Baidya Kiran.
The party will take strong disciplinary action if the Kiran section did not stop its erratic activities, says Agni Sapkota of the Dahal panel.
“Their activities are against the party line and tantamount to anarchism”, Sapkota adds, “If they do not apologize for their unruly acts the party will take the necessary disciplinary actions.”
The Baidya panel had organized a national level meeting of the likeminded leaders in Kathmandu, September 21, 2011 and had heavily criticized the Dahal-Bhattarai panel for singing the ‘anti-national’ power sharing deal with the Madhesi Front.
On the other hand, C.P. Gajurel of Baidya panel is of the view that the separate meeting held by his panel was not against the party discipline.
“When they hold similar meetings it is compatible to party line whereas when we do it required disciplinary action. Isn’t it illogical”, he questions.
Rift widening inside the Maoists party. Heavy toll likely.
KATHMANDU, Sept 22: In a show of strength, the Maoist hard-line faction held a massive gathering of the party leaders and cadres in Kathmandu on Wednesday to sensitize them about the “ideological deviations” of the party leadership and work out a strategy to save the “revolutionary” character of the party.
Over 250 representatives, including district secretaries from all the 75 districts, party´s various sister wings, and party´s foreign branches participated in the gathering at Krishna Bhog Party Palace in New Baneshwar.
Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya, General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa, and standing committee member Dev Gurung delivered firebrand speeches at the gathering, while party Secretary CP Gajurel was the master of ceremony.
Baidya argued that his faction has already launched a struggle against compromises made by the party establishment on the basic principles of Maoism.
“We should counter them [party establishment] ideologically for now, and our future course depends on the moves of the party establishment,” a participant quoted Baidya as saying.
Baidya, who leads the party hard-line faction, argued that there is nothing like a majority or minority when it comes to issues of revolution.
“They have already enmeshed the party into dirty parliamentary politics,” the participant quoted Baidya. The party establishment has been saying that they have a comfortable majority in the party central committee to get their decisions endorsed.
According to the participants, Baidya also stated that he made a mistake during the insurgency by supporting Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal in the latter´s maneuverings to centralize power in his own hands.
Party General Secretary Thapa was more aggressive against Dahal and accused him of joining hands with the Indian establishment and India´s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).
“The Indian establishment and the RAW members have become his family members. Now it is time we chose whether we want revolution or Indian domination,” a leader quoted Thapa.
He also bashed Dahal for hobnobbing with the people who operate “dubious businesses.”
The party general secretary came down heavily on Dahal and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai for handing over the keys of the weapons containers to the Special Committee and the decision to return the lands and buildings seized by the party cadres.
“They decided to return the land of the feudal lords. Now they should clarify what we mean by the term “people”, whether it is a handful of feudal lords or the poor,” another participant quoted Thapa.
Thapa argued that he took a “neutral” position amidst the growing factionalism in the party so that he could bridge the gap and drive the party on the path of revolution, but that he can no longer do so.
Similarly, Dev Gurung accused the government of preparing to make compromises on the issue of national sovereignty. “This government has become the most acquiescent since the one that signed the Sugauli treaty,” a leader quoted Gurung.
The Maoists are holding their central committee meeting on Sept 30 to take up the controversial issues, including the keys handover and return of the seized properties.
The disgruntled hard-line faction has not joined the government, accusing it of making compromises on the party´s fundamental principles.
The panel led by senior vice chairman Mohan Baidya Kiran has demanded immediate scrapping of the four point deal signed between Unified Democratic Madhesi Alliance and the Unified Maoists Party.
The hardliner panel will formally forward the demand in the upcoming party central committee meeting beginning September 30, 2011.
“With the signing of the deal, we have observed that differences between parties have widened further and, the party leadership has even failed to take party insiders into confidence” Maheshwar Dahal-Unified Maoists’ Party member and chairman of Revolutionary Journalists Association told a national daily.
Yet another report has it that the panel has already decided against joining the government led by another vice chairman Baburam Bhattarai.
“The decision to handover keys of Weapon Containers and to sign the four point deal with Madhesi alliance is a grave mistake of the party leadership,” says politburo member Narayan Sharma talking to another daily.
“There is no question of joining this four point pact government. We should try to form a national unity government under our own leadership”, says central committee member Surya Subedi.
On Monday the Baidya panel had held a separate meet and had taken the decision against joining the government, it has been reported.
The meeting also took a decision to organize a national level meeting of the likeminded leaders in the party to devise further strategies.
Pressure is building against PM Bhattarai.
Q1: So how you take the fresh relief measures brought out by the Dr. Bhattarai led government?
Baidya: It had not been decided in the party internally as to such a program for relief measures would be made public. No talks as such have had happened as regards this. Yet, on the average, the relief measures are not that bad. But some points contained therein the relief measures appear vague.
Q2: Is it that the relief measure appears incomplete because the government is yet to take a full shape? When will your panel then join the government structure?
Baidya: The talk of giving a full shape to the government is not only the inclusion of our men who were close to us on ideological grounds. It is instead a talk of bringing in the Nepali Congress, the UML and some other parties also in the government set up. It is being talked that the government formation process be completed only after the conclusion of the party’s Central Committee. It was as per this consideration, the CC meet was convened for September 18, 2011. However, the CC meet got deferred due to the Prime Minister’s upcoming visit to the United Nations. The government formation process will remain stalled as long as the party’s CC meet doesn’t take place.
Q3: While the issues pertaining to the handing over of the key, peace and constitution were in an unsettled state, why it is that the meet of the CA had to be deferred due to Nepal PM’s UN trip?
Baidya: Circumstances cropped up like that. I suppose the trip to the UN was a pre scheduled affair. And so we can’t intervene on such matters. The Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister must attend the UN body meet. It is an act of wisdom not to convene the CC meet when two of our party Vice Chairmen remains out of station. Let’s not take this affair as a ploy to shift the CC meet. It is not like that. It happened so.
Q4: What were the key issues to be settled down by the CC meet?
Baidya: The last meet of the party’s steering committee too has already decided that the peace and the constitution drafting processes should go together. Prior to that, several such meets have too decided on those similar lines. But the debate and the discussion, heated ones, are intense over the submitting of the keys of the weapon containers by disarming the People’s Liberation Army. The debate on this issue is strong.
Q5: What proposals are you carrying at the party’s CA meet?
Baidya: We have already made a statement wherein it has been stated that the key of the container-weapons were submitted violating the party’s decision. We will push the point that the keys were handed over to the government ignoring the party’s decision which has disarmed the PLA. We will take up this issue and target it against the party’s top leadership.
Q6: Is it that you got an inkling that keys were being handed over and when you demanded the fact from the party’s leadership, it ignored?
Baidya: Had the keys to be submitted then the leadership could have dared to convene the steering committee meet prior to handing over the keys. The debate should have been there. Had it been an official decision then it would have meant that the decision was in line with party’s procedures. The decision was made by keeping us all in the dark and later approved by the Special Committee of the party. We were not given even an indication that the keys were being submitted.
I wish now to reveal a secret which has yet not been made public or the people do not know about this fact. We were also kept ignorant while signing the four point agreement with the Madhesi Front. I along with some of my colleagues have registered our ‘note of dissent and reservation’ at the Steering committee meet.
Q7: What else you differ on the signed four point agreement with the Madesh Front?
Baidya: The fourth point in the said Maoists-Madhesi Front agreement is related with the inclusion of the Madhesi Army as a separate unit in the Nepal Army institution. The language used is as vague as it can’t be explained. The agreement makes the commitment for the recruitment of ten thousand strong army men through the tool of having inclusion. We have reservation over this issue. This issue definitely demands adequate debate and discussions.
Q8: Your party has been forwarding the notion of inclusion and now you are opposing such moves? Why so?
Baidya: We fought the people’s war and facilitated the advent of republican order in the country. Why it is that the army which formed the premise for a new constitution is not being allowed to have a separate unit in the Army institution? Likewise, why the party’s past decisions as regards the number of Maoist militias undergo through repeated revisions pushed by other parties? Why the number of militias for integration purposes have come down from ten now to seven thousand only? How it could be that you accept the number what has come from the other quarter? How could a ten thousand strong separate army from the Madhesi population be included in the institution at a single stretch?
This doesn’t mean that we do not want that the Madhesi population be included or say recruited in the Army. No! We do not mean that. The other ethnic tribes too should be brought under the inclusion scheme much in the similar manner as has been agreed upon for the Madhesi population. This issue will certainly crop us sooner than later. If we award the Madhesi quarter with ten thousand strong separate army, shouldn’t we provide the same treatment to the people from the indigenous communities? Shouldn’t the dalits, the oppressed and the ones who fall in the backward class be allowed their entrance as well inside the Army? Isn’t it that the nation in effect demands the inclusion of all the tribes and ethnicity?
Q9: You too were in the party committee for talks with the Madhesi Front which decided this issue. Then why is this protest?
Baidya: Yes! It is correct. I too was in the government formed seven member committee. But we did not know that a sort of tantalizing agreement was in the pipeline with the Madhesi Front. Only two persons participated in the entire affair. These two men stamped the deal.
Q10: You claim that Peace and constitution drafting processes were very much linked with one another. However, your party chairman has already vowed for the Militia re-classification. Why it is so?
Baidya: It is not that we were against the re-classification of the Maoist militias. We are committed on that. Let’s understand what the Chairman has said. Let’s first set the modality and then initiate re-classification process. The peace process must be carried forward towards its desired end. If not done so and only you go ahead with re-classification then that would be completely a wrong move.
Q11: Your party chairman has very freshly said that those who shy away from confronting debate and also those who can’t move ahead with the peace and constitution drafting processes will turn into ashes. Don’t such utterances weaken the party’s unity?
Baidya: One should not have talked on a wrong way. I would say instead that those who “deviate from the party’s structured policies will vanish in the ethereal medium”. Those who ignore party ideologies, politics and established working procedures will finally be ruined. But I would not like to present myself in that manner. I believe in the notion of having adequate debate and dialogue on contentious issues and keep the party in a unified manner. Party’s unity is important.