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Maoists question party's continuation in Nepal govt
Publication Date : 06-02-2013
Representatives at the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (UCPN)-Maoist General Convention yesterday urged the party leadership to make serious revisions concerning the continuation of the Baburam Bhattarai government . A majority of leaders who spoke on behalf of the 40 groups that discussed Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s political document questioned whether the party was commanding the government or vice-versa.
Representatives at the convention, where Dahal clearly enjoys a majority, came down heavily on the performance of the government, claiming that its activities had tarnished the party’s reputation.
“Party leaders have risen above the revolutionary class after participating in the government. The government has protected corrupt people and maintained favouritism and nepotism,” said team leader of the 36th group, Lekh Bahadur Thapa.
Similarly, team leader of eighth group, Usha Devkota, said that the party had failed to work in favour of people. Group leaders also expressed serious discontent over the revival of conflict-era cases, including the arrest of Maoist cadres in Dailkeh for the 2004 murder of journalist Dekendra Thapa. They claimed that the revival of war-era cases when their party is leading the government is “highly objectionable”.
Chandra Bahadur Thapa, leader of the Maoist’s youth wing, the Young Communist League (YCL), said that it would be a great loss to the party if similar cases were revived again. Convention representatives demanded that the party ensure that such cases not be dealt with on an individual basis.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the working style of all top leaders, including Chairman Dahal, they blamed the leaders for promoting factionalism and nepotism by bypassing cadres who had dedicated their lives to the party ever since the armed struggle. “Our top leaders are talking about addressing flaws in the doctrines of Lenin, Stalin and Mao to cover up their own weaknesses,” said group leader Kamal Chudali.
“Nepotism and money-minded tendencies have now overwhelmed the party.” Despite many of the groups welcoming Chairman Dahal’s proposal to transform the party’s line towards a new capitalist revolution with a focus on peace, constitution and prosperity, they criticised the document for being “similar to an election manifesto” and remaining silent on core communist ideologies, including a “principal enemy”.
They asked the leadership to define its relationship and differences with the parliamentary parties, including the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist). Since the UCPN (Maoist)’s entry into the peace process and the abolition of the monarchy, it has maintained that it has major contradictions with India and the mainstream political parties, particularly the NC.
Serious questions were raised on the party’s silence on ‘Indian interference’ in the closed session on Tuesday. Group leaders asked the party to come up with a common position on the controversial Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa) signed by the government with India in 2011.
Vice chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha demanded that the party admit that the deal was a mistake. While Dahal’s document is silent on the deal, the Baburam Bhattarai faction has defended Bippa claiming it is crucial to attracting Indian investment in Nepal.
Vice chairman Shrestha put forth his views regarding ‘national independence’ and the policy that the party should take regarding its relationship with India before the beginning of the group discussion on Tuesday. He said that Nepal’s relationship with India should be guided by principles of equality and the party should stand firm to safeguard national sovereignty.
Some group leaders, however, voiced dissatisfaction with Shrestha’s attitude, claiming that his protest against the government while remaining at the Cabinet is hypocritical. Shrestha responded that the party allows him to express dissenting views regarding the issue of national sovereignty and that disputed issues like Bippa would be resolved within six months after the general convention through an extended plenum.
Convention representatives also demanded that the party retain its firm stance against the proposed extradition treaty with India and criticised the party for failing to push reform agendas, including revolutionary land reform programmes. Dahal’s supporters, meanwhile, demanded an apology from Bhattarai and Shrestha for forging the Dhobighat alliance of 2011.
They claimed that the alliance with then Vice chairman Mohan Baidya elevated Bhattarai to the post of prime minister but led to a split in the party. “We cannot just condemn the Baidya faction for causing the party split. We need to accept the mistakes that we committed which pushed the party towards the split,” said group leader Rajib Ghimire.
According to party insiders, the number of delegates has increased to 4,132 from the earlier estimate of 3,500 after top leaders continued picking up supporters up until yesterday.