My Republica, November 30, 2010
KATHMANDU: “This is the first time in the party´s history that your political document has failed. What do you have to say, comrade?”
When a journalist shot this question at Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal during the news conference held at the end of the weeklong party plenum in Gorkha last Saturday, the latter looked disappointed while the face of Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai, who was sitting cross-legged nearby, lit up.
Vice-Chairman Mohan Baidya "Kiran"
Challenged by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya and Bhattarai simultaneously, Chairman Dahal was pushed into a defensive position. Both the vice-chairmen, who represent two extreme and opposite ideological lines, not only attacked his “centrist line”, but also accused him of misusing “power, authority and finances” to increase his hold on the party.
Chairman Pushpa Kamal Damal and Vice-Chairman Baburam Bhattarai (rear, unsmiling)
The sixth plenum turned out to be different from those in the past as both Bhattarai and Baidya abandoned their support for Dahal simultaneously, and the two-way intra-party conflict of the past turned triangular. Without the support of Baidya or Bhattarai, the Maoist chairman appeared weak as never before. Result: the sixth plenum rejected Dahal´s synthesized political document.
Bhattarai had sharp differences with Dahal on the issue of naming the party´s principal enemy, though both leaders shared the ideological view that the party should work to institutionalize the political achievements made so far. While Dahal stated that India should be declared the party´s principal enemy, Bhattarai had argued that the party should first defeat “domestic feudalism” instead of launching struggles against India. “We could not agree with the chairman as he prepared his synthesized document, mixing dissimilar ideas. It is an act of eclecticism,” says Maoist leader Ram Karki, who is close to Bhattarai.
The Maoist chairman had hoped that he would get the support of Baidya as he had accommodated most of the latter´s views in his synthesized document.
The meeting showed that Dahal is also losing his grip on the Maoist People´s Liberation Army (PLA), which is still indirectly headed by Dahal himself.
But Baidya appeared more aggressive than Bhattarai against Dahal. Baidya, who leads the hard-line camp in the party, attacked Dahal for not launching a “people´s revolt” to establish a “People´s Federal Democratic Republic” in Nepal, the line passed by the Kharipati national conclave. He even threatened to take over the party leadership. “We could not agree with the chairman as we not only had sharp ideological differences, but we also saw a gap between the chairman´s words and what he has been doing in practice,” says Maoist leader Khadga Viswakarma, who is close to Baidya.
During the plenum, Baidya had the strongest hold among the cadres, while Dahal´s position weakened significantly. There was no one to speak in favor of Dahal in the party´s foreign affairs department. Continue reading