|Dahal to call for nat'l unity govt|
To reiterate commitment to multiparty democracy, peace process
KATHMANDU, June 7: As the internal debate between the so-called hardliners and the party establishment in the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) grows sharper, party Chairman Puspha Kamal Dhahal is preparing a political document emphasizing national consensus and the need for a national unity government, and reiterating his party’s commitment to multiparty democracy.
Chairman Dahal has temporarily moved from his residence in Naya Bazar to a private residence in Godavari where he has been busy for the last couple of days preparing a political document to be presented at the party politburo meeting scheduled for June 11.
Some hardliners have pressed for a review of the party’s political direction in the wake of the recent political debacle. “It has become necessary to review the party’s political direction since it seems to get us nowhere,” said a leader loyal to the radical camp in the party.
But a leader close to the party establishment said Chairman Dahal’s political document will be clearer than ever on the party’s future direction. The chairman’s document, according to the leader, will unambiguously reiterate the commitment to multiparty democracy, writing the constitution in time and taking the peace process to a logical conclusion. “The document will also call for formation of a national unity government under the leadership of the Maoist party to write the constitution in time and to hold another general election,” said the leader. The document will stress correcting the “wrong move” of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav and establishing civilian supremacy to begin the process of political consensus.
The hardline camp, however, has a different plan: It wants to press for a general convention of the party to review the political direction taken so far. The Maoist party hasn’t held its general convention for the last 18 years, perhaps the longest in the party’s history. But the party establishment said the party general convention is on the cards anyway and it was decided on two years ago but deferred due to time constraints. “The politburo meeting is likely to decide to hold the party general convention tentatively in about 4-5 months but that’s not because of the growing demand from them [hardliners],” said the leader close to Chairman Dahal.
He asserted that the party will not turn back from its political direction; instead, it will take on the so-called hardliners harshly if necessary. “We feel that we should have done so earlier but then our priority was party unity.” He also argued that part of the suspicion about the Maoist party’s political commitment was due to the dissenting and contradictory voices among senior leaders of the party.
The party establishment’s confidence seems to be strong also because of its hold on the party rank and file, especially among the PLA combatants.
The party establishment was challenged by the hardliners led by senior leader Mohan Baidya at the national conclave of cadres held in Kharipati last November where Baidya had called for immediate capture of the state through a people’s revolt.
But he backed down after a majority of the cadres and over 95 percent of PLA representatives at the conclave supported the party chairman’s proposal for consolidating the gains of the People’s War and People’s Movement by writing a pro-people constitution and taking the peace process to a logical conclusion.
Chairman Dahal may also have felt the need to come clean on his commitment to the democratic process because of the secret videotapes in which he was caught making inflammatory remarks.