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Maoist cadres in Nepal look for 'towering' figure in chairman

Publication Date : 11-02-2013


After Unified Community Party of Nepal (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal regained supremacy in the party in its seventh General Convention, party cadres want the former guerrilla leader to use this opportunity to establish himself as a leader who towers over partisan politics.

Dahal was elected chairman unopposed at the General Convention that the party held after 21 years. The seven-day jamboree that concluded on February 8 was the first of its kind after the party's entry into Nepal's peace process in 2006.

The former rebel party has now officially abandoned the line of revolt and expressed commitment to pursue a path of peace and constitution. It has also decided to mobilise party machinery in uplifting Nepal's national economy by completing a new capitalist revolution.

Prahlad Lamichane, a member of the General Convention organising committee, said Dahal should now play “a leading role” in national politics by taking all political forces, not just his party, on board. “The chairman has come out stronger within the party. He should now take the opposition parties into confidence and move forward to institutionalise peace and deliver a new constitution,” he said. “He now has an opportunity to take the space of a towering leader that has remained vacant after the demise of Nepali Congress leader Girija Prasad Koirala.”

Dahal bagged full-fledged support from the party rank and file at the General Convention, which gave him a mandate to run the party for another five years. With all their differences over his substance and style, both his deputies--Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha--extended their support to Dahal in the gathering attended by 4,100 delegates.

At the convention, Bhattarai described the chairman as "leader of all leaders". Stressing that he never intended to challenge Dahal's supremacy in the party, Bhattarai said the tendency to present him against the chairman and vice versa should be abandoned both outside and inside the party. In the 98-member Central Committee announced after the convention, Dahal reportedly has close to 60 loyalits, compared to Bhattarai's 20.

Youth leader of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) Rabindra Adhikari said a strong Dahal should now strengthen the role of domestic actors in national politics. “The role of external players in Nepal's politics has risen significantly,” he said. “If Dahal continues flip-flopping by frequently changing his rhetoric, he will be seen as someone who acts in the interest of various power centres.”



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