Nepal: Maoist Rival Factions In Media War

KATHMANDU, Jan 30: In a clear manifestation of boiling intra-party turmoil, the rival factions of the UCPN (Maoist) have intensified their media war against each other – attacking the rivals’ characters and ideological positions.

The deepening animosity between Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai is reflected in the latest issues of Lal Rakshak and Samaya Bodh — two magazines launched by those close to Dahal and Bhattarai factions respectively.

Lal Rakshak accuses Bhattarai of fearing the “hurricane of people’s revolt” and running away from it, while Samaya Bodh paints Dahal as a leader obsessed with power and bereft of political vision.“The main concern of the party chairman after the Palungtar plenum was how to reign the party unchallenged and show the domestic and international power centers that he alone can be the party chief,” states the magazine edited by revolutionary journalist Lekhnath Neupane, who is close to Bhattarai.


The magazine claims that the main objective of Dahal’s political document, which was endorsed after incorporating the views of Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya, is not to drive the party toward revolution, but “entrap the cadres and the masses into an illusory eclecticism.”


The Lal Rakshak has, in return, called on the “headquarters of the proletariat” — referring to Dahal residence at Naya Bazaar — to immediately take measures to silence the Bhattarai faction.


Besides, the magazine has also accused Bhattarai of shying away from the party line of “people’s revolt” against the principle of democratic centralism.


“We have a dream — the dream to launch a revolt. We feel you are trying to run away from it. When we listen to you, we feel you are afraid of it. Who did you want to show the drama at Bhrikuti Mandap?” writes Lal Rakshak editor Ram Prasad Sapkota attacking Bhattarai for boycotting the recent cadre orientation program in Kathmandu.


Samaya Bodh, on the other hand, has accused Dahal of following the path of Joseph Stalin to silence dissent, instead of being careful not to repeat in Nepal the mistakes committed by Stalin and other communist regimes in the past.


“But, after returning from the Palungtar plenum it feels the party establishment has retreated from the established norms and values, while appreciating the weakness of Stalin and staunchly following his path,” states Samaya Bodh.


In the same magazine, party leader Ganga Shrestha, who is close to Bhattarai, accuses the party leadership of working with a “dictatorial mindset” to stamp out the minority, instead of following the party rules sincerely, and warns that such a trend may lead to a vertical split of the party.


“If Vladimir Lenin had not snapped relations with Mensheviks and Trotskyites by calling a separate meeting in 1912, the October Revolution of 1917 may not have taken place,” writes Shrestha.


The Lal Rakshak, on the other hand, strongly warns the Bhattarai faction against splitting the party.


“There is a buzz about attempts to split the party. If this is true, beware! No one can really run away from the party campaign (the line or revolt),” the magazine states. The magazine in its editorial also calls on the party cadres to resist attacks against the “headquarters of the proletariat”.


There are also serious allegations against Dahal and Bhattarai in these magazines.


Taking strong exception to the recent Janadesh Weekly episode, Lal Rakshak in its editorial accuses Bhattarai of behaving with the weekly’s editor Komal Baral in a way that even “a master in a bourgeois society wouldn’t.” Baral had refused to run Bhattarai’s interview in the newspaper, and Bhattarai in his capacity as the head of publicity department had asked for his resignation.


Similarly, an article in Samaya Bodh claims that Dahal, without Bhattarai’s support, would look like “a member of the Maoist PLA or a YCL leader”.




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