After flirting with dangerous dogmatic politics, and overcoming volatile internal rifts, the Maoist standing committee has decided to re-focus on the constitution and the peace process
In an exclusive interview to Nepali Times earlier this week, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said, "The party has had a history of ideological two-line struggles. But all of us have now vowed to work together, under a unified leadership, to implement the work plan."
The plan includes:
First, a renewed emphasis on constitution and peace. This is a vindication of Baburam Bhattarai's proposal, and sidelines those who were advocating an immediate 'people's revolt'.
There appears to be a realisation that Nepalis, or even party cadre, do not want an outright confrontation. The party has also assessed the balance of power.
Dahal admitted, "A revolution may succeed, but there is an equal danger of a counter revolution." The party will push for a revolt, he said, only if it feels domestic and international forces are conspiring to obstruct the peace process.
Second, the Maoists will continue to emphasise civilian supremacy and national independence. "We are not giving up on those issues. But we hope to find a way out through dialogue in the High Level Political Mechanism. The president's step has to be addressed for the political deadlock to end," Dahal maintained.
A Maoist-led national unity government remains on the agenda, but indications are the party will not hold the peace process hostage because of this.
Third, Dahal formally reiterated the Maoist stance that integration and constitution-writing have to go together.
"The first cannot happen before the second and that is why the present government plan is not acceptable to us...a final decision should be taken on this issue after the constitution has decided on the new security policy and new state structure," he said.
"Democratisation of the Nepal Army must also happen simultaneously," he said. "We are not saying this to make the army Maoist as our opponents allege, but to make them paribartanmukhi, pro-change."
The Maoists are cooperating with the Special and Technical Committee, but the other parties are insisting the PLA question must be settled before the new constitution.
Nonetheless, there is an air of cautious optimism in political circles, and the task now is to address specific constitution and peace related issues in a short span.