While CPN-M chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has been lobbying to declare Nepal a republic before the constituent assembly elections, there are rumours of a struggle against him within his own party.
A highly placed source told us that members of his party are criticising him for not being able to announce election dates. They are also not happy with the arrangement for the fighters in the camps. They are frustrated about the party's uncertain future, and say Dahal made concessions to India that went against nationalist feeling.
Even staunch supporters, such as Mohan Baidya ('Kiran') are becoming critical of him. When Baidya was released from an Indian prison seven months ago, political analysts predicted that this could disrupt the CPN-M's internal politics. At the party's recent central working committee meeting in Kamidanda, Kabhre, Dahal was again criticised. Observers say that an internal struggle against Dahal will have serious consequences.
The CPN-M is under pressure from the other parties to change its stance on the return of the property seized during the conflict, and the activities of the YCL. Baidya maintains that the Maoist movement has not stopped and that seized property will not be returned. Inside the party, his supporters are said to include Ram Bahadur Thapa ('Badal'), Janardan Sharma ('Prabhakar'), and Netra Bahadur Chand ('Biplab'). A highly placed source told us that Baidya believes more than 10,000 fighters will support him in a campaign against Dahal.
Baidya blames Dahal for not pushing nationalism, the 'third level' of struggle now emerging. He wants to address issues like the Kalapani argument. Many believe that this new phase will also be armed and that the Maoists will use the 5,000 modern weapons they reportedly hid in 13 different places in the first round of the arms/armies verification process. The recently-ousted [sic] Laxman Tharu [sic], who is said to be faithful to the 'third level' struggle group, is said to have over 500 of these. (See 'I dissent'.)
Baidya's biggest strength is Janardan Sharma, who is very popular with the fighters. The fourth division of the 'people's liberation army' is allegedly holding secret meetings to strategise against Dahal's policies.
There is alarm that a potential split in the Maoist ranks would harm the peace process and democracy, by encouraging regressive forces.